Property tracking startup Zoopla has closed a £3.75 million round of new funding from venture capital firms Atlas Venture and Octopus Ventures. The move goes against the grain of a lack of funding for startups and also the downward property trend, but is also unsurprising. Venture capital is supposed to be counter-cyclical and VCs are tending to put bigger rounds into the startups they have the most confidence in. And I guess Zoopla is out to accelerate while other, older property site business models take a beating in this market. Zoopla has now raised a total of almost £5.5m.
Launched less than a year ago Zoopla now claims to be one of the top five most-visited property websites in the UK according to Nielsen (Dec 08) with over five million visits and 40 million page views in its first 12 months.
Zoopla has a lot of clever features including one where you can ‘claim your own house’ and start extolling its features, and a feature called ‘tempt me’ where potential sellers can be lured into the market for the right price – something that might well appeal to credit-crunched consumers. It is also out to disrupt older property sites: you can list your home for sale either direct or through an agent. It also targets agents themselves in an attempt to lure them from aggregators like RightMove.
Alex Chesterman is Zoopla’s founder and CEO, and previously co-founded ScreenSelect.co.uk (now LOVEFiLM.com). Other backers of Zoopla include Nauiokas Park LLP as well as angel investors Sherry Coutu (who founded Interactive Investor), Robin Klein of the Accelerator Group, Simon Murdoch, Andy Phillipps and William Reeve.