Seattle-based tech brokerage Redfin has filed to go public, today registering its S-1 with the Securities and Exchange commission and pricing its initial public offering (IPO) at $100 million.
The real estate company, led by CEO Glenn Kelman, offers traditional real estate services alongside lower commissions and innovative technology, allowing it to sell homes for more money and with a higher success rate than traditional agents, Redfin says. It launched in 2004 and began offering homebuying and selling services in the Pacific Northwest starting in 2006 and sprawling across the U.S. over the last decade for a total of 80 markets.
This step is a test for not only Redfin, but other innovative real estate business models to see whether the public markets will hold up their private investor valuations. If successful, it could free up more investment capital.
No online residential real estate company has filed to go public since Zillow (2011) and Trulia (2012).
In the S-1, Redin also announced it was testing Redfin Now, a competitor to Opendoor, making it another iBuyer and marking its official entry into the instant offer movement. This program buys homes directly from homesellers and resells them to homebuyers. “Customers who sell through Redfin Now will typically get less money for their home than they would listing their home with a real estate agent, but get that money faster with less risk and fuss,” according to today’s filing.
In the public filing, Redfin also brags about a series of accomplishments including:
- Helping customers buy or sell more than 75,000 homes worth more than $40 billion through 2016
- Gaining market share in 81 of its 84 markets from 2015 to 2016
- Drawing more than 20 million monthly average visitors to its website and mobile application in the first quarter of 2017, 44 percent more than the first quarter of 2016, making it the fastest-growing top-10 real estate website
- Earning a Net Promoter Score, a measure of customer satisfaction, that is 32 percent higher than competing brokerages’, and a customer repeat rate that is 37 percent higher than competing brokerages’
- Selling Redfin-listed homes for approximately $3,000 more on average compared to the list price than competing brokerages’ listings in 2016.
In 2014 Redfin scooped up the neighborhood-information site Walk Score, which offers extensive neighborhood data, along with ratings on the walkability, bikeability and public transit access of individual communities. Its other tech products include Book It Now, an on-demand home tour service and a website feature called Shared Search for collaborative home hunting.
Redfin got its start inventing map-based search.
Prior to joining Redfin, Kelman was a co-founder of Plumtree Software, a Sequoia-backed, publicly traded company that created the enterprise portal software market. Before Plumtree, he worked as one of the first employees at Stanford Technology Group, a startup acquired by IBM.
An avid bicyclist, Kelman was raised in Seattle and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley.
When he took the helm at Redfin 11 years ago, he was an outspoken critic of the real estate industry, but he has since offered to work cooperatively with other brokers and local MLSs.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated.