Wall Street trumpets Trulia IPO

Real estate search site is growing and hip to mobile.

By InvestorPlace Sep 21, 2012 11:10AM

By Tom Taulli

iplogoToday, real estate search site Trulia (TRLA) came public, and the reception has been strong, with the stock popping about 40% by midday Thursday.

Founded in 2005, the company is one of the nation's top real estate search sites, competing with the likes of Zillow (Z), which itself had a standout IPO last year.

Trulia says it provides the “inside scoop” on homes, covering a wide swath of the country with a database of more than 110 million properties. The information covers a range of important categories, including local schools, commute times and crime rates.

Trulia also has a thriving community of users that answer real estate-related questions. In fact, at more than 5 million items, Trulia has the biggest repository of user-generated content for real estate, which has been a major source of drawing traffic and increasing engagement.

TRLA's growth has been substantial. From 2009 to 2011, revenues nearly quadrupled, gapping up from $10.3 million to $38.5 million, and revenues came to $29 million fo rthe first half of 2012 alone.

The majority of Trulia’s revenues come from subscriptions to real estate professionals.

“We offer a high return on investment for our tools,” said Pete Flint, Trulia CEO and co-founder, in an interview this morning.

Flint also pointed out that mobile has been a major growth driver.

“We get about a third of our weekend traffic from mobile apps,” he said. “We also monetize the traffic at higher rates than the web.”

That particularly stands out considering the fits mobile monetization has given other major tech companies, such as Facebook (FB) and Zynga (ZNGA).

Flint says real estate has some unique advantages. The search for homes inherently is a mobile activity, as people have to visit potential purchases. Naturally, when they're engaged in the search, they're more likely to make a purchase. It also helps that Trulia makes it easy to find and call an agent on the fly.

All of this has Flint bullish about the big picture: With real estate advertising hitting $24 billion last year, “we have an enormous market opportunity,” he said.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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