Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff: International expansion is not in the cards for now

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Spencer Rascoff of Zillow

Zillow is growing like gangbusters, employing nearly 700 employees and posting a 73 percent revenue growth rate during the fourth quarter.

It’s also attracting a whopping 50 million unique visitors per month, the vast majority of whom are located in the U.S.

So, one might wonder if the Seattle online real estate powerhouse could take its brand overseas? After all, home ownership isn’t just an American thing.

While international expansion is something that the Zillow executive team has contemplated over the years, it is not in the cards at this point. Asked about the possibilities of going overseas at a talk on the Seattle University campus last week, Rascoff noted that the company has plenty of opportunity right here at home.

“The reasons for that is that we’d almost entirely be starting from scratch if we were to expand internationally,” said Rascoff. “We would need relationships with the industry; with the listing providers; with the data providers; we’d need a separate ad sales team; we’d need to go create a brand and grow traffic.”

That’s unlike other verticals, including the travel industry where Rascoff and Zillow co-founders Rich Barton and  Lloyd Frink previously worked.

“When Expedia launches in the U.K., well they have all of these American travelers that want to book travel to the U.K. And they have all the British travelers that want to travel to the U.S,” said Rascoff.

However, there are very few cross-border real estate transactions. Rascoff also added that there competitors overseas, some of which have copied Zillow’s model in the U.S. (including Zoopla in the U.K and Zoocasa in Canada, which boasts a “Zoopraisal.”)

“We have a lot of opportunity in the U.S.,” said Rascoff, pointing to the company’s expansion into mortgage tools, rentals and home remodeling information.  “I don’t feel we need to rush internationally.”

Wall Street seems to have agreed with that approach to date. Zillow shares are up more than 116 percent so far this year, and the company now boasts a solid $2 billion market value.

Nearly all of that value, however, is tied to the U.S. real estate market, which makes Zillow’s story a bit different from some of the other players in technology which are trying to go global in a big way.

Previously on GeekWire‘Industry outsider’ Zillow zooms past $60 per share, now valued at $2 billion… Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff’s secrets to startup success: Be a servant to your managers