ZipRealty Closes $8M Venture Funding

Proving that online real estate plays haven’t completely lost their moxie when it comes to capturing VC dollars, zipRealty Inc. is expected to announce today that it has netted $8 million worth of fresh capital designed to lengthen its runway to profitability.

French VC Pyramid Technology Ventures led the Series D transaction after keeping tabs on the company from the sidelines during its past few rounds of financing.

“In the Series C, they talked about participating,” said Scott Kucirek, president of zipRealty. “When the opportunity came up for them to participate in this round, they jumped on it. They were really excited about the progress we’d made and the inroads we made in the industry.”

Previous investor Vanguard Partners, which originally brought Pyramid into the zipRealty fold, also re-upped in this round, as did repeat players Benchmark Capital and Barrington Partners.

Mark Cellier, partner and co-founder with Pyramid, also joined zipRealty’s board of directors.

As the Richmond, Calif.-based company is on track for profitability later this year, this is expected to be its final trip to the private equity market, Kucirek said. Due to the cyclical nature of the real estate industry, the Richmond, Calif.-based company hopes to become profitable by November, before the housing markets drop-off for the winter, he added.

ZipRealty, which touts itself as a revolutionary online broker attempting to change the real estate industry with superior customer service and technology, plans to use its latest infusion to add 100 additional agents to its current 75-person sales force.

While most customer interactions take place online, the company’s agents are licensed realtors which meet with prospective clients to show them homes and answer any questions they might have about the home-buying process. As zipRealty does not have any bricks-and-mortar offices, its agents often work out of their homes and drive to client meetings in blue Volkswagens bearing the company logo.

Since its inception two years ago, zipRealty has amassed more than 120,000 registered users, and interacts with approximately 10,000 to 12,000 new buyers and sellers each month on its Web site.