Zillow.com co-founder Rich Barton is stepping down as chief executive of the 5-year-old real estate website, which is positioning itself for an initial public offering when conditions are right.
Spencer Rascoff, Zillow’s chief operating officer (left), is taking the top job at the Seattle-based venture.
Zillow simultaneously is announcing that the company is now profitable. It drew 12.5 million unique viewers in August, up 41 percent over August 2009, and its online mortgage quote service is up sixfold, with 314,000 loan requests last month.
Barton said the company doesn’t need to raise any more money. Investors have put $87 million into the business, which now has about 200 employees.
“We’re profitable now and we have plenty of money in the bank,” Barton said. “We could see at some point raising money through an IPO, which would be a desirable event for all of us.”
Zillow co-founder Lloyd Frink is also moving, from president to a new fulltime position as chief strategy officer.
Barton, who helped start Expedia within Microsoft and became its chief executive, went on to become a Web entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He’ll continue as executive chairman of Zillow’s board.
The move frees up Barton, 43, to spend more time on a few other company’s he started recently, including travel site TravelPost. Barton said he’ll continue to spend at least half of his time with the company.
Rascoff was groomed for the position and has lately been Zillow’s highest profile executive.
Looking forward, Rascoff said Zillow’s primary goals are to keep extending its reach and brand, grow revenues and build up its mortgage market business. The IPO is still a ways off, but not out of mind.
“We’d like to go public. We’d like to be public at some point. We intend to be public at some point,” he said, definitively answering the question repeatedly asked about Zillow’s future.
Rascoff, 34, is also a veteran of Expedia, where he was a vice president before joining Zillow in 2005. He joined Expedia after its parent company at the time, IAC, bought the company he co-founded — Hotwire.com — for $675 million in 2003. Earlier, the Harvard grad worked at Goldman Sachs and other investment companies.
Barton (left) said the transition has “been part of the plans since I first met Spencer. When I interviewed him it was my hope that he would be CEO someday.”