The Fool recently explored Seattle. Today, CEO Spencer Rascoff introduces us to Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z), telling us how the online home and real estate marketplace works, what he considers its greatest strengths, and what investors should know about it.
Looking ahead five years, Spencer foresees a major emphasis on mobile services, and expects the brand name to become a household word. Spencer also explains why he identifies with tech companies such as OpenTable Inc (NASDAQ:OPEN) and WebMD Health Corp. (NASDAQ:WBMD).
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Austin Smith: A lot of young products in your pipeline. Five years out, you’ve got some slightly more mature revenue streams. What does Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z) look like?
Spencer Rascoff: Wow. Well, five years from now we’re — almost exclusively might be a little bit of an overstatement — but a predominantly mobile company. We already are, 55%-60% of our usage is mobile. Five years from now, who knows what that number will be, but it’ll be very, very significant. Usage of Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z) on smartphones and tablets will be massive.
I think we’ll have a much bigger brand. Today we’re about 50 million uniques in the U.S., but only about 12% of Americans recognize the brand name Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z). We’re spending tens of millions of dollars on advertising in 2013 to try to change that. By five years from now, I think the Zillow brand name will be as widely recognized as Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) or Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) or other vertical-leading brands.
Of course at that point, we become more of a must-buy for local advertisers in real estate, mortgages, rentals, and home improvement because if they want to grow their business they need to advertise on Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z), which will be the leading brand in our category.
Austin: I know we talked about maybe companies that you guys might … what other young, successful tech companies — maybe Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) — do you guys identify with, associate with?
Spencer: From a strategy standpoint, I identify a lot with OpenTable Inc (NASDAQ:OPEN) because they have a great mobile presence and a desktop presence, which attracts an audience of consumers, and then they provide software tools to the restaurants, so they marry lead generation with SaaS B2B software tools so, strategically, I look at OpenTable quite a bit.