WHO: Pete Flint (GSB05), Sami Inkinen (GSB05)
Pete and Sami started Trulia in 2005 straight out of business school at Stanford. Trulia is a residential real estate search engine that helps house shoppers (and sellers) to understand the market without the painful process of talking to a realor. Trulia was one of the first vertical search engines to hone in on a market where distributed data that could be leveraged in a consumer friendly industry funded model. They have essentially allowed the average person to access multiple listing services but making pay-for-performance revenue from the various listing agents.
Trulia launched around the same time as Zillow who has elected for a much more aggressive advertising model with lots of banner ads around the content. Their key differentiator is providing a specific house value based on local comparable sales - an offering that has taken a lot of heat in the community for it's accuracy and reliability.
Trulia is a great way to keep tabs on a market that you may be interested in later, without asking a realtor to send you the listings and starting that discussion. They provide some great neighborhood guides and heat maps that can quickly get you up to speed on any local area that you are interested in. Knowledge is power, and starting a real estate transaction is a good place to have some power. Pete and Sami have leveraged the data to provide some real research and analytics power - I would guess that they get some good value from that in the future.
I know these guys are agressively growing and hiring - reach out to them if you are interested in this space or know someone who would be a good fit. I think their immediate needs are on the engineering/infastructure side.