Hacker Connect January 16 in New York
An event for and by the real estate tech community

The latest top 100 list of tech startups with high estimated valuations, by online tech publication Silicon Alley Insider, includes real estate industry companies Trulia and Redfin.

Topping this year’s list is social media giant Facebook, with an estimated value of $80 billion (up from an estimated $25 billion in the 2010 list), followed by social gaming firm Zynga (estimated value of $11 billion), daily deals firm Groupon ($10 billion), social messaging and networking service Twitter ($8 billion), and digital document sharing and storage service Dropbox ($4 billion).

Facebook also ranked as the top company on the publication’s list in 2010, with an estimated value of $6.5 billion.

San Francisco-based Trulia, an online real estate search and marketing company that in February announced plans to pursue an initial public offering, has an estimated value of $700 million, according to Silicon Alley Insider, and ranks 27th on this year’s list. "Trulia is close to Zillow’s audience metrics, while doubling revenue year over year," and "Trulia is one of the largest and fastest growign online real estate companies in the U.S.," according to Silicon Alley Insider.

Silicon Alley Insider notes that its valuations can vary widely based on the quality of financial information available, and can be based on a combination of implied valuations in recent private financings as well as gross margin, operating profit, growth rate, market share, market size, and growth rate. "Valuation is highly subjective, and it is only as good as the information on which it is based," the publication notes.

Trulia earlier this month announced it was testing real estate valuations for individual properties — which has been a core feature for rival Zillow. And last week, tech writer John Cook at GeekWire.com cited a report by peHUB ("VC-Backed Trulia Seeks Bankers for 2012 IPO") that Trulia is eyeing an IPO in 2012.

The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD site also reported last week, in an interview with Trulia CEO and co-founder Pete Flint, that Trulia has raised $33 million in venture capital, though Flint did not confirm the report that the company would seek an IPO next year.

Rival Zillow is valued at about $763 million, AllThingsD reported, noting that the company’s stock price has eased back to $27 a share after opening at $20 per share and quickly rising up to $45 per share.

Zillow did not make Silicon Valley Insider’s top 100 list last year — it ranked 104th, with an estimated value at $60 million, and was ranked 57th, with the same estimated value, in the 2009 list.

Trulia did not make the publication’s top 100 list in 2010.

Seattle-based national real estate brokerage company Redfin, with an estimated value of $230 million, ranked 57th on the Silicon Alley Insider’s list, and was not ranked in the previous year’s list. the valuation is "based on shares traded on SharesPost," the publication reported. "Redfin lists real estate properties online and separates (itself) from the competition (Trulia, Zillow) by offering brokerage services as well."

SharesPost is an online marketplace that connects private companies, shareholders and prospective investors.

Inman News reported in June that Redfin, which has offered commission rebates of up to 50 percent to buyers in some markets, was scaling its rebates back to 33 percent in the Bostom market for purchased that close after Oct. 1, as part of a retooling of service.

"Now, whenever you sign up to tour a home or meet an agent, the lead agent who negotiates your deal will also be the one who meets you on the first tour, sees the home and comes to the closing table," Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman wrote in a blog post. The firm in 2008 had reduced its buyer rebates in all markets from 66 percent to 50 percent.

Craigslist, a global network of online classified ad and community messaging sites, ranked ninth on Silicon Alley Insider’s list, with a $2.5 billion valuation. That compares to its estimated valuation of $3 billion and its fifth-place ranking in 2010.

San Francisco-based Airbnb, which connects property owners around the globe to short-term renters, ranked 14th on the list, with an estimated value of $1.3 billion. The company was not ranked in the top 100 list in 2010. "Reports suggest that Airbnb will do north of $500 million of gross merchandise sales in 2011, and book net revenue of about 5 percent of that," Silican Alley Insider reported.

Joe Gebbia, in an interview with Inman News, said its features for payments, profiles and reviews are keys to the companies success — the company has grown from three to 130 employees since its start in 2007, and the site features rental properties in over 16,000 cities and 186 countries. Gebbia spoke at the latest Real Estate Connect event in San Francisco.

Yelp, which offers user reviews of businesses and professionals, including real estate brokerages and agents, ranked 25th on this year’s list, with an estimated value of $800 million. That compares to a ranking of 27th, with an estimated value of $600 million, last year.

Angie’s List, which also offers user reviews of local services, including real estate agent reviews, ranked 26th on this year’s Silicon Alley Insider list, with an estimated value of $700 million. That compares to last year’s ranking of 67th, based an estimated value of $200 million.

Silicon Alley Insider’s top 10 list of highest-value companies

1. Facebook
2. Zynga
3. Groupon
4. Twitter
5. Dropbox
6. Wikipedia
7. Vente-Privee
8. LivingSocial
9. Craigslist
10. Palantir Technologies

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