Zillow competitor Trulia files for $75M IPO

Faith Merino · August 17, 2012 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/296a

The real estate listing site sees revenue double every year since 2009

One year after real estate listing site Zillow went public (and became one of the handful of Web companies whose stock didn’t tank shortly thereafter), a worthy real estate contender is also eyeing a public debut.  Trulia has filed an S-1 form for an IPO that could generate $75 million.  The company hasn’t yet specified how many shares it’s going to sell or the price, but those things will come in time.

Rumors bubbled up last month of a confidential IPO filing using a provision of the JOBS Act that allows emerging growth companies to file secretly if they don't generate as much revenue as larger companies.

The company first launched in 2004 and has since amassed a user base of 360,000 active real estate professionals, 21,544 of whom are paying customers.  In June, Trulia had 22 million unique monthly visitors, which is up from five million in June 2009.  Additionally, subscribers have increased to 21,544 from some 2,400 in 2009.

Of course, there’s the very real fact that Zillow is already doing what Trulia does, and quite successfully, for that matter.  Trulia touches on that issue in its prospectus, mentioning that more than 50% of its user base does not visit Zillow.com, according to comScore.

Its users consist primarily of college educated 25- to 54-year-olds with household incomes over $75,000 a year, and the company notes that “U.S. consumers with these characteristics tend to spend more of their annual income on home maintenance, insurance, household furnishings, apparel and services, and entertainment than the average consumer,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Now onto the nitty gritty.  The company has seen some pretty impressive revenue growth over the last few years, with revenue doubling every year since 2009.  In 2011, the company saw revenues of $38.5 million, up from $19.8 million in 2010.  In the first half of 2012, Trulia has already generated $29 million in revenue.  On the flip side, the company has posted net losses of $7 million in 2009, $3.8 million in 2010, and $6.1 million in 2011.  Between January and June 2012, Trulia has already posted a net loss of $7.6 million. 

It looks like the losses are largely attributable to sales and marketing spend, which were $17.7 million in 2011 and $15.1 million in the first half of 2012.  Technology and development also took up a hefty chunk of revenue, accounting for $14.6 million in 2011 and $10 million in the first half of 2012.

Hopeful home-buyers are increasingly turning to the Internet for help.  Trulia notes that in a November 2011 survey by the National Association of Realtors, 88% of respondents said they’ve used the Internet to research homes.  In another survey conducted by The Real Estate Book, 52% of respondents said they’ve used a mobile device to look for homes.

Zillow made its public debut in July 2011 at $20 a share.  It is now trading at $37.85 as of 12 pm PT.

Fellow online real estate competitor Redfin raised $14.8 million in October 2011 to expand to more cities across the U.S.

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