Redfin raises $71 million for continued expansion

Latest move in battle for online real estate domination

Redfin, the real estate brokerage, announced that it has received an injection of funding from several large institutional investors, as part of the company’s efforts to further its growth and expansion into new markets.

According to a release from Redfin, the company received an investment of $70.9 million from Wellington Management Company, Brothers Brook, and Annox Capital Management, which is led by Redfin Board Director Bob Mylod.

Additionally, funds managed by T. Rowe Price Associates and Tiger Global Management participated in the funding as well. Those two funds also participated in a previous round of funding for Redfin, which raised $50 million in November 2013.

“Redfin has doubled the number of markets it serves over the past year, and this funding will support continued expansion to offer Redfin's unique blend of full-service real estate and technology to millions of consumers,” the company said.

The company also anticipates the money being used to support Redfin's ongoing development of new technology, as part of an effort to make each step of the home-buying and selling process better for the company’s consumers.

"Redfin will put this capital to good use," said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. "As our business grows, our agents can be more local, and our ability to get people into homes quickly increases. With more market-share, we can pair buyers and sellers more efficiently. We have already seen this happen over the years in our most established markets, but now we can invest in accelerating that process in new markets."

Redfin’s injection of funding is just the latest in what has been a banner year in the battle for domination of the online real estate market.

In just the last six months, the online real estate world experienced seismic shifts, beginning with the two largest players in the space, Zillow (Z) and Trulia (TRLA), announcing that the two mortal enemies were trading their boxing gloves for hearty hugs and merging into one company.

The $3.5 billion stock-for-stock transaction was delayed in November, after the Federal Trade Commission requested more information from the companies about the specifics of the deal.

But that wasn’t the only massive shift in online real estate in 2014. In late September, News Corp (NWS) announced that it was going to purchase Move (MOVE), which operates for the National Association of Realtors, for $950 million in cash.

That deal was completed in November, and News Corp CEO Robert Thomson said that he expects the move to “turbo-charge”

In an exclusive interview with HousingWire after the News Corp acquisition was announced, Move CEO Steve Berkowitz said that the News Corp deal presents the “synergies as a multiplier” effect, because Move and News Corp’s audiences are similar but don’t overlap, unlike its competitors.

“Their (Zillow and Trulia) two audiences are really the same audience,” Berkowitz said. “Our audience is very transaction-ready compared to our competitors. This is an audience that News Corp would love to have access to. Plus we get access to the News Corp audience. Our two companies coming together represent an opportunity for growth.”

With all of these companies angling for growth in 2015, the next 12 months could prove to be as interesting as the last 12 have been.

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