Trulia certainly didn’t disappoint in its Wall Street debut. The San Francisco online real estate company raised $102 million; soared more than 40 percent to $24; and finished the day with a market value of more than $600 million. (Shares are off slightly this morning).
In a blog post Thursday, Trulia CEO Pete Flint called the IPO yet another milestone in the history of the seven-year-old company.
“Today is incredibly thrilling, but I’m even more excited about the road ahead,” he wrote. “While Trulia began in 2005 as a real estate search site, we’ve successfully grown our business to include hyper-local content, rentals, and mortgage search—areas that have each seen remarkable growth.”
Flint’s remarks to Fortune’s Dan Primack are even more interesting, since the veteran reporter asked about everything from whether Trulia left money on the table during the IPO process to mobile monetization.
I, of course, was most interested in Flint’s remarks about competing with Zillow, its age-old rival which went public in July 2011. Flint cited a report from comScore which indicated that the majority of Trulia users don’t visit Zillow.
“So if a subscriber wants to get in front of our audience – which is transaction-ready, not casual — they need to come to us directly,” he said.
The key words there are “transaction-ready” — used to describe Trulia — and “casual” — used to describe Zillow.
That’s always been the pitch for Trulia. The company touts itself as closer to people at the point at which they are about to buy or sell a home. In fact, Flint told GeekWire last year that Trulia users “are much more transactionally focused than they are checking out home values,” a slam on Zillow’s home valuation tool the Zestimate.
In the company’s IPO filing, Trulia used similar language, writing that 76 percent of survey respondents contacting real estate professionals on Trulia were planning to move within six months and nearly half were 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,” the company wrote.
Nonetheless, Zillow, which unlike Trulia is profitable and just completed a $157 million secondary offering, remains the bigger of the two companies in almost every key metric. (Revenues, unique visitors, market value, etc.). Its stock has more than doubled from the $20 offering price 14 months ago.
While Flint declined to respond to questions about Zillow’s recent patent infringement lawsuit, the company’s recent SEC documents have a bit more on the matter.
Trulia wrote that litigation could be costly and time-consuming, and could divert management’s attention and even possibly discourage consumers, real estate professionals and advertisers from using their marketplace.
“Based upon our preliminary review of the patent identified in the complaint, we believe we have meritorious defenses to Zillow’s claims. We intend to vigorously defend the lawsuit,” the SEC filing says.
Furthermore, an adverse outcome of a dispute may require us to pay damages, potentially including treble damages and attorneys’ fees, if we are found to have willfully infringed a party’s patent or copyright rights; cease making, licensing or using products that are alleged to incorporate the intellectual property of others; expend additional development resources to redesign our products; and enter into potentially unfavorable royalty or license agreements in order to obtain the right to use necessary technologies.
Royalty or licensing agreements, if required, may be unavailable on terms acceptable to us, or at all. In any event, we may need to license intellectual property which would require us to pay royalties or make one-time payments. Even if these matters do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor or without significant cash settlements, the time and resources necessary to resolve them could harm our business, operating results, financial condition, and reputation.