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2020 HW Vanguard: John Berkowitz

OJO Labs, Cofounder and CEO

John Berkowitz, Cofounder and CEO, OJO Labs

Since founding OJO Labs in 2015, John Berkowitz has provided the company with the direction, resources and autonomy to achieve its mission of empowering consumers to make better decisions. 

With a bold, thoughtful and strategic leadership style, Berkowitz has scaled the company to 308 employees and more than 50 markets across North America. Driven by the belief that an exceptional product comes from exceptional people, Berkowitz set out to assemble a senior team focused on sustainable growth and maximum impact. 

Within the past 12 months, Berkowitz has brought on Chris Heller, former CEO of Keller Williams and Mello Home; Karen Starns, who led brand and customer experience at Amazon for the portfolio of Amazon smart home devices; and Charles Myslinsky, former product executive at Jet.com and Walmart. With a powerhouse management team, Berkowitz has cultivated a culture of creativity, innovation and expertise that has driven industry impact and transformation in just one year. 

Even with unprecedented challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in June OJO Labs secured $62.5 million in funding, which subsequently facilitated the acquisition of Movoto. Berkowitz’s ambition, grit and business-savvy were key to making a lofty aspiration become a reality. 

Under Berkowitz’s leadership this year, OJO Labs has seen record increases in user engagement and retention and home purchases. What’s more, the company recently announced plans to hire more than 120 employees in St. Lucia before the end of 2020, nearly doubling the team on the island. 

The company claims that none of this growth and transformation would have been possible without Berkowitz’s relentless energy and belief in its mission.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
When starting a business, it’s easy to get tied up in a fear of failure. A mentor taught me that conquering fear is not the objective. It’s about using fear to your advantage. Now, instead of trying to eliminate fear, I harness it, and use it to propel me forward.

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