Redfin buys

Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 8:42am PDT

Redfin buys Seattle walkability startup Walk Score as competition heats up

Rachel Lerman

Puget Sound Business Journal

Seattle real estate company Redfin, led by CEO Glenn Kelman, announced its first… more

Seattle online real estate company Redfin has acquired Walk Score, a Seattle company that calculates neighborhood walkability.

It’s the first acquisition for the decade-old company. The companies did not disclose terms of the deal.

"The acquisition is Redfin’s first and the reason for it is simple: We want to give folks a complete portrait of what it would be like to live somewhere new, within the house and in the surrounding neighborhood," Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said in a blog post Wednesday.

The news comes just months after another acquisition in the Seattle online real estate market. Zillowannounced this summer it would acquire San Francisco-based Trulia for $3.5 billion.

Zillow is a tough and growing competitor for Redfin, but the smaller company does have a different business model that gives it a distinct advantage. Redfin employs real estate agents and has access to MLS data. Zillow has been criticized by real estate agents and homeowners for having out-of-date information.

This region is emerging as a leader in real estate technology as both Zillow and Redfin grow. There have been rumors that Redfin will join Zillow as a publicly traded company at some point in the near future, but for the time being, those are just rumors. CEO Kelman told Bloomberg in 2012 that he expected the company to be public in 2014. It’s not looking like that is likely to come to pass.

Kelman said in his blog that Walk Score, a company with 10 employees, is a good fit because it will provide Redfin more information about neighborhoods and provide Walk Score access to real estate agents.

Walk Score shows more than 20 million scores every day on 30,000 websites. It will operate as a separate entity "for the foreseeable future," according to the Redfin press release.

The acquisition will allow websites that use Walk Score to display 5,000 ratings each day for free, eliminating a fee that used to be required for more than 100 ratings.

Walk Score, which was founded in 2007, raised $2 million in 2012 from angel investors including Rudy Gadre and Geoff Entress. The majority of the team will join Redfin, and Walk Score CTO Matt Lerner will become Redfin’s vice president of local engineering.

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