Reply! Inc., a provider of online real estate marketing services, has secured $17 million in funding to help continue its growth in online real estate, automotive and financial services, the company said today.

The financing was led by BA Venture Partners and includes additional contributions by Orix Venture Finance and private investors led by Reply! CEO Payam Zamani.

Founded in 2001, Reply!’s online marketing and referral services support a network of more than 13,000 real estate agents, auto dealers, financial institutions and other service professionals.

The company says it has experienced approximately 50 percent year-over-year growth in the past three years and expects growth to accelerate with the addition of the new funding.

“We have had tremendous opportunity to grow the business, both from the consumer side and the service side,” Zamani said.

The company plans to expand on its AgentConnect lead service in the next few months, he said.

Reply! owns and operates two separate online real estate lead generation services: AgentConnect and RealtyNow. The company qualifies and validates online consumer inquiries for real estate services, then refers them to real estate brokers and agents within its network.

The company in January purchased Connecting Neighbors, a network of neighborhood Web sites, which are sponsored by a local real estate agent and dedicated to a single neighborhood.

Connecting Neighbors’ members now have access to Reply!’s consumer referrals in their local markets, and Reply!’s existing agent members have access to Connecting Neighbors’ local neighborhood marketing programs.

Reply! also announced Tuesday that Sharon Wienbar, managing director of BA Venture Partners, joined the company’s board of directors.

“Internet advertising, marketing and referrals have become critical enablers and accelerators of commerce,” Wienbar said. “This tremendous market opportunity bridges Internet marketing and traditional offline commerce, a $25 billion advertising market served by solutions without trackable ROI for customers.

Reply! has expanded its workforce from 35 employees in December of 2003 to more than 180 employees and independent contractors today. The company is headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif., and has offices in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Walled Lake, Mich.

The Web portal includes information for consumers on residential real estate, automotives, home improvement, moving services, insurance and financing. Reply!’s online trade brands include iMotors, RealtyNow, AgentConnect and ConnectingNeighbors.

Zamani has pointed to the company’s diversified revenue sources as better positioning it for success should the housing market slow as many industry observers are anticipating.

“Any marginal downturn in the real estate economy is not going to have a big impact on us,” he said.


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