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Property website Zoopla.co.uk receives further £3.75 million investment


Zoopla.co.uk, the UK’s fastest growing property website, has bucked both the property market and investment climate trends by announcing the closing of a £3.75 million round of new funding from leading venture capital firms Atlas Venture and Octopus Ventures.

Launched less than a year ago (January 2008), Zoopla.co.uk is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak property market, reporting record website traffic despite the gloomy market conditions and outlook. Zoopla.co.uk is already one of the top five most-visited property websites in the UK (source: Nielsen, Dec 08) having achieved over five million visits and 40 million page views in its first 12 months.

Zoopla.co.uk is the UK’s leading website for house price and market value data, providing the most comprehensive source of residential property market information including free, instant value estimates on all 27 million UK homes. And as the UK’s most active property community, Zoopla.co.uk continues to harness the combination of publicly available data and proprietary user-generated content, boasting over one million user contributions to its website in 2008 alone. With its imminent and innovative launch of estate agent listings on a pay-for-performance basis, Zoopla.co.uk expects to become the website of choice for anyone interested in the property market – whether buying, selling or just looking to stay informed about market activity.

Alex Chesterman, founder and CEO of Zoopla.co.uk, commented:
“With our latest funding we will continue to champion transparency and efficiency in the property market and are focussed on empowering users with information and helping estate agents make the most of their marketing spend. The challenging housing market outlook further increases the relevance of Zoopla.co.uk’s services at a time when consumers’ thirst for information is increasing in the face of difficult property decisions and estate agents seek more cost effective ways of obtaining enquiries and building their inventory pipeline.”

Zoopla.co.uk has now raised a total of almost £5.5m with the latest funding being used to further develop the company’s technology platform, grow its team and boost its sales and marketing efforts. Zoopla.co.uk has a highly experienced and proven management team led by Alex Chesterman, its founder and CEO, who most recently co-founded ScreenSelect.co.uk (now LOVEFiLM.com, Europe’s largest online DVD rental business). In addition to Atlas Venture and Octopus Ventures, other backers of Zoopla.co.uk include Nauiokas Park LLP as well as a number of well-respected angel investors including Sherry Coutu, Robin Klein of the Accelerator Group, Simon Murdoch, Andy Phillipps and William Reeve.

Alex Macpherson, Chief Executive of Octopus Ventures commented:
“The rapid success Zoopla.co.uk has enjoyed since its launch proves there is a clear gap in the market for a service that integrates the requirements of buyers, sellers, owners and estate agents. It is an extremely compelling proposition managed by a team of highly seasoned, successful entrepreneurs with whom Octopus has a longstanding relationship and we are delighted to be working with the Zoopla.co.uk team.”

Fred Destin, Partner at Atlas Venture and repeat backer of Zoopla.co.uk added:
'Great businesses emerge in times of hardship. Alex and the team are building the next-generation leader in the property space, we will be there to support them all the way and are grateful to be working with such an accomplished management team.'

- Ends -

For further information please contact the Zoopla.co.uk Media Team at Mischief on +44 (0) 20 7100 9999 / zoopla@mischiefpr.com

For further Octopus Ventures information please contact Michaela Hopkins / Emily Bastin, The Millbrook Partnership: +44 (0) 20 7520 9455 / ov@millbrookpartnership.com

For further Atlas Venture information please contact Josephine Salm, Ballard Associates: +44 (0) 20 7978 7773 / josephine@ballard-associates.com

Notes to Editors

About Zoopla.co.uk
Zoopla.co.uk is a unique property website offering users information and tools to help them make better-informed property decisions. Our aim is to provide the most comprehensive source of residential property market information in the UK to help buyers, sellers, owners and estate agents alike and give them an advantage in the property market.

In 2007, following the success of bringing DVD rental to the web with LOVEFiLM.com, Zoopla! founders Alex Chesterman and Simon Kain realised that the UK property market had yet to fully enjoy the benefits of the internet in terms of its ability to deliver transparency and efficiency. They set out with the mission to transform the property market for both professionals and consumers by:
• offering users FREE access to instant value estimates, sold house prices and local information and trends
• enhancing estate agents’ marketing efficiency by providing exposure/leads on a pay-for-performance basis
• helping users find local agents and other property professionals to assist them in the transaction process
• letting buyers make offers on ANY UK home and owners test interest in their homes before choosing to sell
• creating an environment where anyone can ask/answer questions and share their knowledge about homes

We have started by providing FREE value estimates, sold prices and local information as well as letting users add content by editing information and uploading photos. We are the UK’s fastest growing property website and by far the largest and most active property community in the UK, with over a million user contributions to our website in 2008 alone. We have already launched some unique features, like TemptMe!™ and AskMe!™, which allow consumers to gain an insight into the market and discover information they won't find anywhere else. Our estate agent directory, FindAnAgent and our unique AskAnAgent feature allow users to contact local professionals directly for their expertise. Very soon we will begin accepting estate agent listing feeds and delivering buyer leads to agents on a no-risk, performance-based model, making Zoopla.co.uk the most cost-effective way for agents to gain exposure and develop their inventory pipeline.

Our value estimates are calculated using a proprietary algorithm (a secret formula) that we have developed by analysing millions of data points relating to property sales and home characteristics throughout the UK. The algorithm works by comparing relationships between home prices, economic trends and property characteristics in given geographic areas. Our estimates are constantly refined, using the most recent data available from public sources combined with our proprietary used-generated data and a variety of statistical methodologies, in order to provide the most current information on any home.

Zoopla Ltd is a privately held company with a highly experienced and proven management team, backed by well-respected angel investors and leading venture capital firms Atlas Venture (www.atlasventure.com) and Octopus Ventures (www.octopusventures.com).

Zoopla.co.uk Awards
• Winner: 'UK's Most Promising Internet Company 2008' (First Tuesday)
• Winner: 'Best Property Website - Gold Award' (Web User Magazine)
• Winner: 'Best Real Estate website 2008' (Websiteoftheyear.co.uk)

About Octopus Ventures (www.octopusventures.com)
Octopus Ventures, a subsidiary of Octopus Investments, is a venture capital company with support from a dedicated Octopus Investor Group, which provides many competitive advantages.

The Octopus Investor Group was formed by a group of successful entrepreneurs and businessmen to provide capital and business expertise to small, fast growing companies. The Company received FSA authorisation in June 2000.

Over the past eight years, the Octopus Ventures team has invested £26m into 30 companies and generated a return of 49% per annum (equivalent to 3.5x the amount invested) from 11 liquidity events. Across the entire portfolio (including those investments not yet realised), Octopus Ventures’ annual rate of return has been 20.02%.

In October 2007, Octopus Investments launched Octopus Titan VCT 1 and Octopus Titan VCT 2 which raised £31 million. Octopus Ventures is the Investment Manager of this Fund. The focus of the Fund is to generate real returns on investors’ money over the long term by investing into unquoted companies with strong growth potential. The typical deal size will range from £500,000 to £2 million and the portfolio is expected to encompass investments in 20-25 unquoted companies. The Fund is structured as a twin VCT to enable it to make investments of up to £2 million per company, twice the amount possible for single VCTs. To date five companies have received funding.

Following the strong investor demand for Octopus Titan VCT 1 and 2, Octopus Titan VCT 3 plc was launched in May 2008. Like the previous Titan VCTs, Octopus Titan 3 is designed to deliver strong returns to investors through investment into smaller UK companies. The Fund is seeking to raise up to £25 million in the 2008/2009 tax year and will have the potential to support up to 30 unquoted UK companies.

About Octopus Investments Ltd (www.octopusinvestments.com)
Established in 2000, Octopus Investments is one of the UK’s fastest growing alternative investment specialists, providing investors with access to a growing range of innovative investment products including venture capital trusts, enterprise investment schemes, inheritance tax solutions, business property relief products and a range of UK equity OEICs.

Since its inception, Octopus Investments has doubled its customer base annually to over 20,000 today and has grown its funds under management by 100% per annum to over £600 million. The company enjoys leading positions in every market area in which it operates:
• Leading VCT provider in the UK
• Inheritance Tax Solutions significantly outperforming index
• Largest provider of EIS solutions
• Top performing Smaller Companies OEICs
• Leading private equity player in sub-£25million deals

Additionally, Octopus was voted the top UK financial services company to work for in the Sunday Times survey of “Best 100 SMEs to Work For” in 2008.

Octopus Investments Limited is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Services Authority, 25 The North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HS. Registered office: 8 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HP. Registered in England & Wales under No. 3942880.

About Atlas Venture
Atlas Venture is a leading early-stage international venture capital firm manages over $2.5 billion in capital through offices in Boston and London. Since inception in 1980, its partners have helped build over 300 companies in more than 16 different countries. In the past decade, 44 portfolio companies have been acquired and 47 are now public companies with an aggregate market capitalization of over $15 billion. Recently, Atlas Venture helped start or backed leading e-commerce and digital media companies such as Seatwave (the #1 European live event tickets marketplace), DailyMotion (the #1 independent video sharing site) or PriceMinister (a top 3 e-commerce company in France). Atlas Venture is the first institutional backer behind Zoopla.

For more information, visit www.atlasventure.com

About Nauiokas Park LLP
Nauiokas Park LLP is a specialist investment firm providing vision, strategy, leadership and capital to growth-stage companies with innovative business models at the intersection of financial services, markets and technology. We focus on identifying business models, associated technology and infrastructure with the potential to profitably disrupt the existing industry paradigm.

Formed in 2008 by Amy Nauiokas (previously CEO of Barclays Stockbrokers) and Sean Park (previously Head of Digital Markets at Dresdner Kleinwort), Nauiokas Park combines financial capital with operational and strategic expertise, original insight and deep domain knowledge of financial services and markets. Our investment approach is predicated on our understanding of a number of key technological, social and cultural themes that are driving a secular shift in the structure of the global economy and markets. We invest in businesses and entrepreneurs that are naturally adapted to succeed in this new environment.

Nauiokas Park LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC328786. Registered office: 16 Old Bailey, London, EC4M 7EG, United Kingdom.


Publisher Contact Information:

Mischief
+44 (0) 20 7100 9999
zoopla@mischiefpr.com

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