Did Zillow get high on its own supply?

Hello and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines.

This is our Wednesday episode when we niche down to a single topic, looking to expand our understanding of one particular technology trend or another. This week, we spoke about iBuying, a business operation that makes money through flipping homes. Our central question, given Zillow’s departure from the business and Opendoor’s impressive earnings, was if the iBuying model can work — and who in the world is proving it?

Here’s what we got into:

  • Zillow made a decision to get out of the iBuying market, with huge costs hanging over its head and a grip of layoffs to manage. Natasha and Alex were curious what went wrong.
  • So we brought along Ryan Lawler, one of TechCrunch+’s reporting team, who has covered the space. Ryan helped us use Opendoor earnings as a comparison point — it turns out that the iBuying model can work, even if Zillow itself struggled with the model. (Opendoor went public via a SPAC, recall.)
  • We also talked about what the situation could mean for startups in the real estate market more broadly. It turns out that merely having data is not enough to make money in the housing space.

Equity is back Friday morning with our weekly news roundup, and, depending on if this constitution thing works out, Saturday too!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts. And if you haven’t given our sister podcast, Found, a listen, check it out!