SM: How many consumers are you touching right now?
PF: Over 5 million unique users monthly. Trulia is one of the largest real estate sites in the US and is growing very rapidly. We want to grow more.
SM: What guidance or metrics can you provide in terms of company performance?
PF: We are not profitable yet, in terms of revenue, but we are not far off. Given we are in a recession and this is the worst housing market decline we have ever seen, we are happy with how revenues are growing.
SM: How much money have you raised so far?
PF: We have raised $33 million in four rounds. The last round closed in Q2 of 2008, and we have not touched most of that money. That is a good war chest for the next few years. We are in a very strong financial position for the next few years given that we have around 85 people. We are not burning through that money, either, as we are almost profitable.
SM: Who are your principle investors?
PF: Our Series B was led by Accel Partners. Our Series C was led by Sequoia Capital, and our last round was led by Deep Fork Capital. They have invested in a number of Sequoia portfolio companies.
SM: How are the real estate market doldrums impacting your business? What are your perspectives on this situation?
PF: There is always a bit of good and bad with change. Real estate is going through a fundamental dislocation. I look at it in parallel with other vertical markets. I look back at recruitment and the tech crash of 2001. It really changed the way that traditional recruitment was done. It moved from offline to online in a big way, and offline never recovered. Out of that came Monster, CareerBuilder, and HotJobs.
In terms of travel, there were obviously some terrible events in 2001. That dislocation changed the market forever. There were huge amounts of inventory on the market. There were plenty of people who were interested in travel and who needed to travel, and we saw the online sites grow and grow. It created a unique position for suppliers and consumers.
I think the same thing is going to happen in real estate. Right now is the tipping point of the online real estate industry. There is significant consumer usage. We have seen usage rise up and up. Every month is a record month in all metrics for us. Consumer demand is growing and growing because there is an increasing amount of confusion surrounding decisions to rent or buy.
SM: People are coming to your site regardless to do research?
PF: Exactly. There is significant pent-up demand. Housing as we know is never going to be superseded by another technology. Housing will always be around. What is fundamentally changing is the way research on housing is being conducted. There are some amazing sites out there today that did not exist a couple of years ago.
Our fundamental thesis is that the consumers are online and the advertising dollars are offline. The advertising dollars are going to follow the eyeballs. It has happened that way with every single medium. What has happened the last couple of years is that advertisers have come off offline media. They are no longer paying $10,000 a month in the San Francisco Chronicle.