Zoopla

Zoopla is a UK-based property website with emphasis on the residential property market. Zoopla’s main focus is to help users find information on the UK property market, such as area trends, statistics, current value estimates, and prices of sold houses. They achieve this by researching the market and combining property listings from various sources with local information, community tools, and market data. Owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust, the company caters to property developers, letting agents, and estate agents, with whom they partner with in a marketing capacity.

Zoopla is a subsidiary of ZPG Plc and is managed by a team led by Alex Chesterman, who is the founder and CEO of the company. With its headquarters in London, Zoopla is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. As of 2016, the company had a revenue of £197.7 million and an operating income of £49.7 million pounds.

History

Zoopla Property Group (ZPG) Plc was founded in 2007 by Alex Chesterman, and the Zoopla website went online in January 2008. Simon Kain who co-founded and was Chief Technology Officer at Zoopla was a key figure in the company’s launch which was backed by a number of investors including Octopus Ventures and Accomplice.

Over the years, Zoopla has acquired a number of companies starting with ThinkProperty.com which was taken over from the Guardian Media Group in July 2009. A month later in June, Zoopla took over the Property Finder Group which was the parent company of the websites ThePropertyShop.co.uk, HotProperty.co.uk, and PropertyFinder.com, with £7 million in combined annual revenues, from former owners News International and the REA group.

In January 2011, Zoopla took over HousePrices.co.uk, the historic database of house prices in the UK. Later in October, Zoopla merged its business with that of the Digital Property Group which was a subsidiary of A&N Media, the company responsible for property websites FindaProperty.com, Globrix.com, and PrimeLocation.com.

In 2012, Zoopla acquired UpMyStreet.com, a property information website, and the following month in June, the company became Zoopla Property Group Ltd. Later in the year in December, Zoopla took over Globrix.com, another property information website.

Spring 2013 saw former Betfair Group Plc executive, Stephen Morana, join Zoopla as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In June 2014, the company got floated on the London Stock Exchange by its largest shareholder, the Daily Mail and General Trust. The following year in June, Zoopla acquired uSwitch, a price comparison website, and in July 2016, Zoopla’s CEO was revealed to be one of the business executives involved in a controversial legal challenge to the result of the EU referendum.

Operations

Zoopla provides a directory of residential properties and allows users make searches to find specific information. The service draws data from sources such as Google Maps, the Royal Mail’s postcode database, the HM Land Registry’s database containing information on property transactions conducted in England and Wales, as well as a number of other sources.

Zoopla has built an algorithm or automated valuation model based on this data which provides users with computed estimates for the value of any property in the United Kingdom. Similar to a service provided by U.S. website, Zillow, Zoopla lets its users set a TemptMe price or claim their home on the site. Zoopla uses the DNPric.es analogue for valuing internet property, and it is disputed how accurate Zoopla’s computed home valuations are.

Management team

Alex Chesterman

Alex Chesterman is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of ZPG which he founded in 2007. He was once co-founder at one of Europe’s foremost online rental services, LOVEFiLM which was later sold to Amazon. Alex graduated from London University with an honours degree in Economics and has received an OBE for Services to Digital Entrepreneurship. In 2013, he won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Mike Evans

Mike Evans has been a non-executive chairman at ZPG since 2014 when he joined the company. He was formerly Chairman of Hargreaves Lansdown PLC where he started out as a non-executive director in 2006 before becoming chairman in 2009. Also serving as a non-executive director of Chesnara PLC, Mike used to be with Skandia UK Limited where he was Chief Operating Officer. He graduated from the University of Bristol with a BSc in Mathematics.

Andy Botha

Andy Botha is currently the Group Chief Financial Officer at ZPG. While Andy joined the company in 2016, he was previously Chief Commercial and Financial Officer at notonthehighstreet.com, which is an e-commerce website. A qualified Chartered accountant, Andy used to be an executive in the UK internet businesses company, Betfair, where he served in Commercial and Financial roles. Before Betfair, he was at lastminute.com where he held the position of UK Finance Director.

Gareth Helm

Gareth helm has been the Chief Marketing Officer at ZPG since 2015 when he joined the company. Before Zoopla, he was Brand Director at MoneySuperMarket.com, serving in that role since 2012. Gareth graduated from Bristol University with a BSc in Chemistry and has since served in a number of management roles in companies spanning a variety of industries. He became the first CMO at Zoopla as the company was looking to expand. He is also a non-executive director at Tails.com.

Matt Cohan

Matt Cohan was announced as the new Chief Product Officer at ZPG in December 2014, and was the first person to occupy the newly created role. Prior to that he was a Director of Online Products at Photobox, an online digital photo service. He was once at the Digital Property Group, acquired by ZPG in 2012, where he served as Director of Product Management.

Mike Blakemore

Mike Blakemore became Chief Technology Officer at Zoopla in 2015 when he took over from Simon Kain. He was Head of Engineering at Marks and Spencer, serving in that role since 2013 when he joined the company. Prior to that he was CTO at LOVEFiLM from 2007 to 2012. He studied Mathematics at the University of Warwick.

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Published on 8th June 2017

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