Trulia, the real estate search startup backed by high-profile venture firms Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners, has raised $15 million in additional funding, bringing its total financing to $33 million.
To be honest, a lot of real estate sites look pretty similar to me, and Trulia lacks a big attention-getting feature like Zillow, which will estimate the value of your home. But the funding should help Trulia stay competitive with the more heavily-financed Zillow, which has raised a total of $87 million.
Chief executive Peter Flint says the San Francisco-based company wasn’t in danger of running out of cash anytime soon, but taking on the additional financing gives Trulia some insurance in case the economic situation stays bad or gets even worse.
Interestingly, Flint says Trulia is still growing despite the general economic malaise, and the poor real estate market in particular. The company says it gets around 5 million unique monthly visitors. A spokesperson sent me comScore‘s top 10 real estate sites for April, which shows it coming in at number seven — since the list is dominated by offerings from big companies like Yahoo Real Estate and MSN Real Estate, that’s quite good for a startup.
Compete also shows a pattern of healthy growth, albeit one that still leaves Trulia a little behind Zillow.
Trulia benefits from the general trend in which homebuyers are using the Web more and more in their real estate search, and advertising follows suit, Flint says. In the current climate, it makes sense that advertisers, have to be smart about where they spend their money.
Flint says one of Trulia’s biggest advantages is the emphasis it places on discussion and community. Not being in the market for a house myself, I haven’t taken a deep look at Trulia’s discussion forums, but I can say they seem well-designed and active. (Of course, Zillow and other sites have discussion forums, too.)
The current round was led by Deep Fork Capital, with participation from Sequoia, Accel and Fayez Sarofim and Co. The 70-person company’s revenue comes from advertising, including its vertical ad network and a create-your-own-ad offering called Trulia Pro.