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Zillow.com, the controversial online real estate company that provides value estimates on homes, has raised $25 million in a second round of funding.
It is controversial because it pisses off lots of real estate agents, who think providing values is their job.
This venture round reminds us of the Jobster funding last week: Like Jobster, Zillow is a Seattle Web 2.0 company that has some momentum, and is striking deals with big players. Zillow signed a deal with Yahoo last week, which made it the provider of home estimates for Yahoo Real Estate. It is non-exclusive, and leaves the door open for Zillow to cut a deal with Google, MSN or others — though Zillow has been mum on that prospect.
The round was led by investment fund PAR Capital Management, which joined previous investors including Benchmark Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV). Zillow has raised $57 million to date — very similar to the $50 million Jobster has raised. This is now getting into the realm of serious cash amounts. There are only a handful of Web 2.0 companies — at most — that have managed to raise so much.
Zillow was founded last year, but first launched its site in February 2006. It has 118 employees. Since launching, it has been among the top-ten real estate sites, with an impressive two to three million unique visitors a month. It provides price values on nearly 67 million U.S. homes.
Rich Barton, Zillow co-founder and chief executive, told us the company will focus on improving the quality of the data that informs its estimates, and will also roll out a number of other features unrelated to housing valuations, which he is keeping secret for now.
The company is not profitable yet. He said he did not need the cash, but that he chose to raise the money anyway. The best time to raise money is when you don’t need it, he said.
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