Online real estate valuation and property marketing company Zillow has completed its third round of financing by outside investors, raising $30 million, the company announced today — for a total of $87 million.
Global asset management firm Legg Mason Capital Management led the Series C financing for Zillow. All of Zillow’s prior institutional investors also participated in the latest financing round, the company announced.
“The funds will support expansion of Zillow’s staff of 155 employees, including a 20-person national advertising sales team. The capital also allows the company to fund an accelerated timetable of products and features for homeowners, buyers, sellers, real estate professionals and advertisers,” the company announced.
Zillow, launched by Expedia founder Richard Barton in early 2006, completed a $25 million Series B financing round in July 2006. That round was led by PAR Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures and Benchmark Capital. At that time, the company announced that it had raised a total of $57 million.
In October 2005, Zillow announced a pre-launch Series A round of financing with Benchmark Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures.
Bill Miller, chief investment officer at Legg Mason Capital Management, said in a statement, “We believe Zillow is well on its way towards becoming a market-leader in a huge and untapped online category of online tools and information for homeowners.”
Zillow.com is not alone in offering property valuations, information and networking tools. Other valuation sites include Fidelity National Real Estate Solutions’ Cyberhomes.com and Internet Brands’ RealEstateABC.com, and property-search site Trulia is among the real estate sites that allow users to engage in online discussions, as examples.
Zillow reported that about 40 percent of all U.S. homes have been searched at the site, which has information for about 70 million U.S. homes. In the past year, about 1 million homeowners and agents have “claimed” homes on the site, the company also reported, “with most adding additional data such as updated home facts or remodel information.”
And there are about 290,000 user-contributed property listings featured at the site, which includes homes for sale by agents and owners as well as homes that feature a “Make Me Move” price established by owners.
Zillow’s self-serve advertising system, called Zillow EZ Ads, has about 6,000 individual advertisers, the company announced.
Glenn Kelman, president and CEO for real estate brokerage company Redfin, said the latest round of Zillow financing is good news for other emerging business models, too. “As Zillow rakes in the capital, it drives consumers to get more information on their own. Without sites like Zillow, we’d have a hard time persuading anyone to buy a home online.”