Exclusive: Trulia real estate website to open Denver office

SAN FRANCISCO Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:19am EST

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Real estate website Trulia will open an office in Denver, the company's biggest expansion outside its San Francisco home base, as it steps up efforts to tap into a fast-growing local advertising market.

Monthly revenue at the privately held company is now regularly in the "multimillion-dollar" level, the company told Reuters on Tuesday, and Trulia has maintained profitability every month since initially turning a profit in September.

Trulia co-founder Pete Flint told Reuters in April that revenue was more than $1 million a month.

The Denver office will open in February with about 25 employees focused on sales and support for Trulia's advertising services. The company, which currently has about 200 employees, plans to hire up to 100 staffers at the new office this year.

Trulia, which lets people find home sales and rental listings online and competes with Zillow.com, is backed by venture capital firms Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital.

The 5-1/2-year-old company has seen a surge of investor interest in its private shares, along with popular Web services like Groupon and Facebook, according to a report last year from SecondMarket, an online exchange for trading private shares.

But while shares of Groupon, Facebook and many other private companies can be bought and sold in the secondary markets, Trulia does not currently work with any secondary market exchanges to allow trading in its shares, said Trulia spokesman Ken Shuman.

Last year, co-founder Flint told Reuters the company had received inquiries from investment bankers interested in helping Trulia conduct an initial public stock offering, but he said the company was focused on building the business.

Spokesman Shuman told Reuters on Tuesday that the company is focused on growth with no plans for an "exit strategy" at this point.

According to a December 2009 report in technology blog AllThingsD, Trulia was involved in "on again, off again" acquisition talks with Internet search giant Google Inc (GOOG.O).

Trulia said its revenue growth was being driven by a service unveiled last year that lets real estate agents purchase online ads targeted to the specific postal ZIP codes for property listings on its website.

According to Trulia, such local ads were purchased in more than 9,500 locations across the United States last year and there are currently more than 5,000 real estate agents on the wait list for the ZIP code-based ads.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Gary Hill)

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