There were a lot of doubters about whether Zillow had what it takes to become a publicly-traded company. But, at least in terms of the initial reaction, those doubters have been proven wrong. Shares of the online real estate company soared in their debut today. After pricing at $20 per share and raising $79.6 million, the company’s stock took off. Shares are now trading at $43.39, up 117 percent on the day.

That gives Zillow — which lost $827,000 on revenue of $11.2 million last quarter — a market value of $756 million. At one point during early morning trading, shares of the company hit $60 per share, giving the company a valuation of $1.6 billion.

[Update 10:15 a.m.: The stock has since fallen, but is still up more than 70 percent on the day, trading at $34 per share].

In an interview with GeekWire from New York, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff downplayed the big stock jump.

“Over the long-term, what happens to the stock today is pretty much irrelevant,” said Rascoff. “If we delight our tens of millions of users, and thrill our thousands of advertisers, then, over the long-term, the stock price will take care of itself.”

Zillow becomes the first technology company in Washington state to go public in about a year.

In many ways, Zillow is a bellwether IPO. It has a tremendous growth story for sure and a hugely experienced management team behind it, but it is still relatively small when it comes to publicly-traded companies. Investors also might not like that it is still losing money.

Nonetheless, the company impressed on Wall Street, since it boosted its IPO price to $20 above the initial projections of $12 to $14 per share. This is going to be a fun one to watch and leads to this week’s GeekWire poll:

GeekWire Interview: “Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff takes the long view after first day IPO pop”

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  • Ddd

    Funny. Zillow priced it at $20, it sold at $40.

    They must have priced the stock using the same formula as they do with their Zestimates.

  • paul o

    Go Rascoff and team. Congratulations!

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Zillow on a monster debut!

  • Kevin Lisota

    Congrats to the team at Zillow on the well-earned IPO.

    It is hard to argue with the popularity of their site, and obviously they have some good future upside potential. It does feel a bit frothy at this initial valuation, however, given their actual revenues.

    As a paying customer of Zillow, and a direct participant in the real estate industry, I think their true upside is actually reliant on the recovery, or at least partial recovery, of the housing market. Housing recovery=More home sales=More real estate advertising dollars available for Zillow.

    I think their real potential growth will be hampered until we see increased transaction volumes for home sales, though will be interesting to see if the Street thinks otherwise over the coming months.

  • Klondiko

    There is a ton of money sitting on the sidelines just waiting to jump back in. Good example.

  • Anonymous

    An ambitious vision realized by a strong, experienced team with uncommon continuity… congrats Spencer, Rich and Zillow team!

  • Dave

    Great for Zillow and congrats to them. However, the real tests are what happens after their first earnings release post-IPO and what happens in the month after the lockups come off.

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