The competition gets fiercer in the Australian real estate space as startup OpenAgent secures AUD$1 million from a number of high profile entrepreneurs and investors including Pete Flint, co-founder of one of America’s largest online real estate marketplaces Trulia. This is a massive coup for OpenAgent co-founders Marta Higuera and Zoe Pointon, who will benefit from Flint’s practical knowledge in scaling a company to the point that it can be sold for billions.
OpenAgent, the Trip Advisor of the real estate industry, helps Australian home owners sell their property by providing rankings of all real estate agents in their locality. The rankings are based on past sales and customer reviews. Put simply, Open Agent is a ‘connector’ or ‘middleman’ startup, connecting the homeowner or home buyer with the best agent in their area.
The latest contribution brings OpenAgent’s total funding to $1.4 million. But it’s not the dollar value that’s interesting here. Last month, it was announced that another US-based online real estate marketplace, Zillow Inc. had entered a definitive agreement to acquire rival Trulia for $3.5 billion in stock. This would instantly make Zillow the largest real estate website in the US. The deal is expected to close next year.
The combined revenue generated by both Zillow and Trulia is below 4 percent (approximately USD$480 million) of the estimated $12 billion real estate professionals spend on the marketing every year. Following the acquisition, both the companies will continue to operate under their respective brand names. Trulia co-founder Flint will remain in his position as CEO after the merger and will have to report to Zollow’s CEO Spencer Rascoff.
To catch the gaze of someone like Flint who, to say the least, is well-versed in the online real estate industry is certainly a win for OpenAgent. Flint’s advice and mentorship will take OpenAgent to the next level; and it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear more news from them in the upcoming months.
Pointon puts it simply: “Having Pete Flint come on board as an investor and advisor is just huge.”
“Pete knows this space better than just about anyone, having built Trulia — one of the world’s biggest online real estate businesses — from the ground up. Pete loves what we’re doing, and clearly thinks OpenAgent has a bright future. You can’t get a better vote of confidence than that.”
Not only has OpenAgent attracted Flint as an investor, but also co-founder of One Big Switch, Paul Hunyor, and Anthony Klok, who previously invested in Temando and Deals Direct.
After closing their initial $400,000 round last year, OpenAgent focused its efforts on proving its business model. Now it’s time for startup to scale. Fast.