Spark has bought a minority stake in a free website which gives New Zealand property sale histories, valuations and other information and claims about 300,000 users a month.
Few details were given about the deal with homes.co.nz but a statement from the web business said it was "in a healthy state having surpassed $1m in annualised revenue within the first year. Specific details are not publicly being disclosed, but it is a significant investment for homes.co.nz."
Ed Hyde, chief executive of Spark Ventures said the purchase was made for several reasons.
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"They are well placed to make an even bigger mark in the rapidly growing area of digital services for the home. They have a great team of seasoned New Zealand entrepreneurs and relevant international experience and we see a lot of potential cross benefits with some of our other services and customers," Hyde said.
John Holt, the website's founder and chief executive, said the deal would fund the 18-month-old business to a break-even position and allow it to grow.
"Our focus on homeowners who are not buying or selling will increase as we add a wide range of calculators and tools to help manage your home and enhance its value. Helping Kiwis plan for their longer-term property aspirations and significant projects on their current home is all part of our vision of being much more than just a property listings portal," Holt said.
When the site was launched last year, homes.co.nz's Jeremy O'Hanlon said the details of 1.2 million New Zealand residences, flats and apartments were accessible, giving up-to-date valuations on each residence and its site.
"These are all things you've had to pay for in the past," O'Hanlon said, explaining how the information was drawn from authorities including councils, which hold property records. "We've got the sales history, estimated value and we're now working with Westpac and IAG to add new data sets."
The site's computer model uses the data, historic sales and trends in each area, which is updated monthly, to give people an idea of an estimated value. Property sales history, recent sales, monthly homes estimate and rating values are on the site.