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ActiveRain Finds Funding

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ActiveRain, the popular social network/blogging platform for real estate professionals, announced today it has received $2.75 million in funding (see the official post on their site).

In a move that may raise some eyebrows, the money came from fellow Seattle venture HouseValues.com in exchange for a minority stake in the company.

I had a chance to talk to ActiveRain’s founders Jon Washburn and Matt Heaton earlier however, and both are pretty excited about the cash infusion. As they put it, they’ve been “bootstrapping” ActiveRain for the last couple of years and the new dollars mean they can finally begin to focus on building their team to really ramp up development on the site. They plan on using the bulk of the money to hire new engineers.

First priority for them is to launch the outside blogging platform (see ActiveRain Launches Outside Blogs) and finish an overhaul on Localism, their consumer facing local market commentary site.

More importantly, Washburn and Heaton see this money as being a critical hedge against the other VC-backed players that are starting to edge onto ActiveRain’s turf. Zillow and Trulia (with its new Agent2Agent product) have all recently started to try and corner real estate agents’ conversations online.

In any case, news of the funding announcement certainly begins to clear up many of the nagging questions around ActiveRain’s long-term viability. Though it had started to monetize the community a little, mainly through advertising, profitability remained a long way’s off – and is still at least 12 months away, according to Heaton and Washburn. This funding gives them the breathing room they need.

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Neither of the founders would comment on how the investment affects ActiveRain’s ongoing lawsuit against Move.com (see Move.com Tried to Buy ActiveRain).