I-P-Oh! Redfin’s Big Day Nets 44% Gain

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Seattle’s online real estate brokerage Redfin became the latest real estate company to go public, when the company’s shares began trading on the Nasdaq on Friday morning.

Interestingly, the company priced its initial public offering at $15 per share, which is actually beyond the range the company set in its prospectus. However, traders ate up the stock.

In early trading under the symbol “RDFN,” the stock shot up past $20 per share, an increase of more than 35% above its initial trading price.  It closed the day at $21.70 up 44.67% overall.

Forbes called the IPO, which raised $138.5 million, “a crucial test not only for the 11 year old company, but for the broader market of tech-enabled startups that many hope will shake up the sometimes stodgy real estate industry.”

While Redfin began as an online real estate brokerage, the company has been expanding into other areas of the home buying process recently.

Earlier this year, the company launched “Redfin Now,” a new service where Redfin buys homes directly from home sellers and resell them to buyers.

The company called the program “experimental,” but added that it has faith that Redfin Now will work.

“We believe our industry-leading algorithms for calculating what a home is worth will limit the risk that the price we pay a Redfin Now customer for her home is below the price we charge a new buyer for that home,” Redfin said in its prospectus.

“And we believe our ability to reach more than 20 million monthly average visitors through our website and mobile application, coupled with our network of Redfin buyers, will let us effectively resell the homes we purchase through Redfin Now,” the company added.

Redfin Now is currently only offered to a limited number of customers in two non-disclosed markets, but the company said that depending on the program’s early results, it could be expanded beyond that.

That news came shortly after Redfin launched Redfin Mortgage, adding a mortgage-lending operation into the company’s existing digital-focused real estate brokerage and title businesses.

Back in January, the company said that its “ultimate goal” is to have is an “entirely digital process, with better service, a faster closing and lower fees.”
Redfin claims tools like mobile-based listing notifications, on-demand home tours and intelligent pricing make its agents three-times more productive than the competition and save customers an average of $3,500 in closing costs.

Prior to going the IPO route Redfin had raised $167 million privately. Its last funding round, in December 2014, valued the company at about $813 million. According to filing documents, private market investors including Greylock Partners, Madrona Ventures and Tiger Global still own just over half of the company. CEO Glenn Kelman maintains a 3.3% stake. [24×7]

Category: What's Brewing?

About the Author (Author Profile)

Larry Sivitz is founder, publisher and managing editor of Seattle24x7, the founder of SearchWrite Search Marketing, an SEO, PPC and Social Media Thought Leader, and an SPJ award winner for Seattle magazine.