Nipping at Zillow’s heels, Trulia files for $75M IPO

San Francisco online real estate company Trulia is looking to follow in the footsteps of Zillow yet again, filing to raise up to $75 million in an initial public offering. The filing was actually confidentially submitted to the SEC on May 31st, and just made public today.  Trulia has long been rumored to want to jump into the public markets.

Trulia still remains smaller than Zillow on nearly every important metric. It boasts 22 million unique visitors to Zillow’s 33 million, and it pulled in $28 million in revenue for the first six months of 2102 compared to Zillow’s $50.5 million. More importantly, Trulia continues to lose money. Its net loss attributable to common stockholders for the first six months of the year was $7.6 million, and it has never posted a profitable quarter. In fact, the company — backed by the likes of Accel Partners (23 percent stake); Sequoia Capital (10 percent stake); and others — has tallied an accumulated deficit of $43.8 million since it was founded. That compares to a profit of $3 million for Zillow for the first six months of 2012, though it was also unprofitable at the time of its IPO last year.

Nonetheless, Trulia has remained a persistent and pesky competitor to its larger Seattle rival. And CEO Pete Flint has made it well known that he has Zillow in his crosshairs, telling GeekWire last year that “it is really just a question of time before we overtake them.” That has not occurred, and Zillow has used its public stock to actually accelerate into new areas (most recently new online tools for real estate agents).

In the SEC filing, Trulia makes a few references to Zillow, noting at one point that a “significant portion” of Trulia’s visitors do not visit its primary competitors’ websites. It cited statistics from comScore indicating that during the first six months of 2012 an average of 56 percent of the Trulia audience did not visit Zillow.com. They continued in the filing:

“In addition, based on data from comScore, our audience is more engaged with our marketplace than users of our primary competitor’s website, Zillow.com. We believe that our audience is highly motivated and ready to purchase homes, as supported by our surveys in which 76% of respondents contacting real estate professionals on our marketplace indicated that they are planning to move in the next six months, and in which almost half stated that they are pre-qualified for a mortgage. We believe the transaction-ready nature of our audience results in better qualified leads for real estate professionals and an attractive audience for advertisers.”

Zillow’s stock has lost some momentum in recent weeks, now trading at about $35 per share. That still gives the company a value of more than $1 billion, and is up significantly from its July 2011 IPO at $20 per share.

As much as Trulia has followed in the footsteps of Zillow in the past, here’s one arena where they are breaking away from their bigger rival. Trulia is proposing to go public on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker TRLA, rather than the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Did the Facebook fiasco have anything to do with that decision?

Full Trulia filing here.

  • http://blog.findwell.com Kevin Lisota

    I think the most interesting metric between these two companies is probably a soft metric that doesn’t come across in financial reports. Trulia has always felt like an SEO-driven company that lacked broad brand awareness, driving visitors primarily through search results. Zillow, on the other hand, seems to have an “everyday consumer brand awareness.” Not sure how that could be accurately measured, but it sure feels like Z has the big edge up for that simple reason alone.
    Interesting to note that Trulia boasted profits back in 2010, but the IPO filing shows a loss for that year. Must have been a small blip in profitability, if at all, back then.
    http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/12/trulia-scratches-profitability/