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Zoopla.co.uk - revolutionary new online property venture launched by successful internet entrepreneurs and backed by leading venture capital firm

15th Jan 2008

Zoopla.co.uk is set to make big waves in the UK property industry by providing consumers with free information and tools relating to the residential property market, and estate agents with free exposure for their property listings. Its aim is to create a transparent marketplace by making information free and easily accessible to everyone.

Having successfully used the internet to shake up the DVD rental industry over the past 4 years, Zoopla founders Alex Chesterman and Simon Kain now plan to do the same with the property market where the internet has yet to deliver meaningful benefit to the UK consumer. Whether buying, selling or just curious about property in general, Zoopla.co.uk provides all the necessary information and tools to help users make smarter property decisions.

Zoopla satisfies the voyeur in all of us by providing free, instant value estimates on over 26 million UK homes, along with recent sold prices and much more, all in one place. As the UK's first community property website, Zoopla.co.uk also allows sellers and agents to list homes for sale FREE, potential buyers to make offers on ANY home, whether on the market or not, and all users to view and share information.

In 2003, Chesterman co-founded LOVEFiLM.com (formerly ScreenSelect.co.uk), Europe's leading online DVD rental service where Kain was the CTO, responsible for building the technology platform. With their strong and proven track records in using the internet to empower customers and deliver change, Chesterman and Kain have spent the past 12 months developing Zoopla.co.uk, in order to transform the residential property market.

Zoopla has been modeled on a number of successful property websites that have emerged recently in the US. These have demonstrated how keen consumers are to have direct access to data and tools to make more informed decisions, and how agents can benefit by engaging directly with consumers.

Zoopla is backed by leading venture capital firm, Atlas Venture, and has raised over £1.5m to date with plans to raise additional capital as the business develops. The board of directors includes Chesterman and Kain, as well as Fred Destin, a partner at Atlas Venture, Dr. Simon Murdoch, founder of FriendsAbroad.com and formerly head of Amazon.com in Europe, and William Reeve, co-founder of LOVEFiLM.com.

Visit www.zoopla.co.uk to get an advantage in property today.

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For further information, please contact Tim Vooght at pr@zoopla.co.uk or on 020 3872 5615.

Notes to Editors:

What is Zoopla.co.uk?
Zoopla is a revolutionary online publishing service and community website providing information and tools to give users an advantage in the UK residential property market. Our aim is to create a transparent marketplace and we believe that information should be free and easily accessible to everyone.

How did it start?
In early 2007, following the success of bringing DVD rental to the internet with LOVEFiLM.com, Zoopla founders Alex Chesterman and Simon Kain realised that the internet had yet to deliver meaningful change to the UK property market. It became clear that consumers lacked essential tools and information to help them understand home values, view similar properties, learn about past transactions...

...and then we thought:

  • Why not offer users a tool to get access to FREE, instant value estimates on their homes or anyone else's?
  • Why not let buyers make offers on ANY home, instead of just the 4% of homes currently on the market 'for sale'?
  • Why not let owners find out if there is any market interest in their homes without having to list them 'for sale'?
  • Why not let agents and sellers market their 'for sale' listings FREE by providing them with easy-to-use tools?
  • Why not let anyone ask/answer questions and share their knowledge about any homes or neighbourhoods?
  • Why not put current value estimates, sold prices, homes for sale and local information all together in one place?

So, we have started by providing FREE value estimates and sold prices on homes, allowing sellers and agents to list homes for sale FREE, and letting all users edit information and upload photos. We have also launched some unique features, like TemptMe™ and AskMe™ which allow users to gain an insight into the market and discover information they won't find anywhere else.

Our value estimates are calculated using a proprietary algorithm (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 by our team of analysts, using the most recent data available and a variety of statistical methodologies, in order to provide the most current information on any home.

Zoopla Limited is a privately held company, backed by leading international venture capital firm Atlas Venture.

Executive team:

Alex Chesterman, Founder, Chairman and CEO. In 2003, Alex co-founded LOVEFiLM.com, Europe's leading online DVD rental subscription service. Alex has spent his career in the development and creation of business concepts and was a semi-finalist for the Ernst & Young 'Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2002'. Alex joined Planet Hollywood Inc. at its inception in 1990 and remained there as Executive Vice President until late 1998. Alex holds an honours degree in Economics from London University.

Simon Kain, Co-founder and CTO. Simon was most recently CTO at LOVEFiLM.com, where he was responsible for building the technical platform and team behind Europe's leading online DVD rental service. In 1997, Simon joined start-up Bookpages.co.uk, which was subsequently acquired by Amazon.com where Simon spent 5 years developing and managing a significant part of the European software team. Simon holds an honours degree in Computer Science from Warwick University.

Board of directors:

Fred Destin, Non-Executive Director. Fred joined Atlas Venture in 2004 as a Partner on the technology team focusing on software, technology-enabled services and digital media infrastructure/applications. Previously, Fred was a Venture Manager with Speed Ventures, a fund backed by Permira and Soros Partners, and also an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs. Fred authors a widely read blog at www.freddestin.com and holds a Masters in Financial Engineering from the University of Brussels.

Dr Simon Murdoch, Non-Executive Director. Simon is the founder of FriendsAbroad.com, the world's largest online community for language learners. In 2000, Simon co-founded Episode 1 Partners, a venture capital firm managing early stage Internet investments. In 1996, Simon founded Bookpages.co.uk, which he subsequently sold to Amazon.com where he launched the UK service and became VP Europe. Simon holds a first class degree from Cambridge University and a PhD in Computer Science.

William Reeve, Non-Executive Director. In 2003, William co-founded LOVEFiLM.com, Europe's leading online DVD rental subscription service, where he remains as COO. In 1997, William founded Fletcher Research, which he successfully sold to Forrester Research, where William then spent 3 years as European Group Director. Prior to that, William spent 2 years at McKinsey & Co as a management consultant. William holds a first class Masters degree from Oxford University.

Zoopla executives Alex Chesterman and Simon Kain are also on the Board of directors.

Advisory board:

Erik Britton. Erik has 18 years of experience as a professional economist. Between 2000 and 2007 he was a Director at Oxford Economics, where he was responsible for leading and delivering major consultancy projects for blue chip clients in the industrial and financial sectors and the government. Prior to that, Erik was involved in economic modelling and forecasting at the Bank of England.

Professor Andrew Clare. Andrew is a Professor of Asset Management at CASS Business School and has published extensively on a wide range of economic and financial market issues. Andrew was formerly a Senior Research Manager at the Bank of England and has also spent 3 years working as the Financial Economist in the fund management arm of one of the UK's largest insurers.

Robin Klein. Robin has spent many years on public company boards in UK and South Africa and his career highlights include being CEO of Innovations Group Plc, Managing Director of Arcadia Marketing & Home Shopping, and Chairman of Agent Provocateur. Robin is an experienced angel investor in early-stage, fast growth technology businesses and brings an expert understanding of consumer behaviour and how to design outstanding customer experiences.

Trevor Moross. Trevor has been involved in the residential property industry since graduating from Reading University in 1975. He oversees the residential property interests of Dorrington PLC, where he is Joint MD. Dorrington is a residential and commercial property investor/developer with a residential portfolio of over 1,500 units in London and the Home Counties. Trevor is a past President of The British Property Federation and currently serves on its Board and is a Board member of The Leasehold Advisory Service.

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