AI startup BEN adds Chris Heller as adviser to board of directors

Artificial intelligence (AI) startup Brand Engagement Network (BEN) onboarded industry veteran Chris Heller as an adviser to its board of directors. 

Heller’s addition to the board comes at a time when BEN prepares to go public through a merger with DHC Acquisition Corp. — a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) focused on technology — in a deal that values the combined company at $358 million. 

Heller currently serves as president of OJO Labs, a real estate technology company focused on improving homeownership. He has more than 35 years of experience in the real estate industry, including time as CEO at Keller Williams and with loanDepot affiliate mellohome. In 2022 and 2023, HousingWire recognized Heller as an HW Vanguard.

In his advisory role, Heller will provide expertise on the broader financial services and real estate industries, as well as how AI assistants can be applied to empower both consumers and service providers, BEN said in a release.

“As we contemplate entry into the financial services vertical, we see Chris’ expertise and extensive industry knowledge across finance, real estate, and technology and his broad network of connections as invaluable to successfully navigate our ongoing development of cutting-edge multi-modal AI Assistants and applications,” said Michael Zacharski, CEO of BEN.

“I have dedicated my career to exploring and leading the deployment of innovative real estate ideas and technology that supports both customers and consumers across a broad range of services and operations,” Heller said in the statement.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with BEN to develop groundbreaking tools and applications as the industry embraces the potential of AI.”