Zillow to Acquire StreetEasy; FA Technology Ventures’ $2.5M Deal in 2006 Pays Off

VentureWire , Lizette Chapman, August 19, 2013,

(c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Low-key venture firm FA Technology Ventures is one step closer to easy street thanks to its early investment in StreetEasy.

With Zillow’s $50 million acquisition of NMD Interactive Inc., which operates New York-centric real estate site StreetEasy, FA Technology is in the sweet, albeit unusual position of being the sole venture investor in the eight-year-old company.

The Boston-based firm, which does between four and six deals a year, invested $2.5 million in the startup back in 2006.

“They very much stuck to their original vision,” said Claire Wadlington, a general partner at FA Technology Ventures who serves as a StreetEasy board member. “There was a lot of data out there that was hard to access. By ferreting it out, mapping it against real estate listings, and then putting all of that in one place they realized they could create a very robust platform. ”

StreetEasy attracts nearly 1.2 million monthly unique users, most in the New York region, searching for information about condos, co-ops, new developments and luxury real estate along with rental and sale listings.

Ms. Wadlington said StreetEasy had previously entertained a half-dozen other acquisition offers from real estate and financial firms.

“This was a good return for us,” she said.

A good return and some great timing.

FA Technology Ventures last raised a fund in 2001, when it closed its second fund at $100 million. The firm, which has four partners, is in the process of raising its third fund now, Ms. Wadlington confirmed.

The firm has backed a number startups based on technology developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology that later went public, including iRobot Corp . and A123 Systems LLC .

Its last exist was in 2009 when E Ink Corp ., which created the technology used in displays in the eBook industry, was purchased by Prime Holdings International.

The StreetEasy acquisition is expected to close in the next few weeks.

Email Lizette Chapman at lizette.chapman@wsj.com. Follow her on Twitter at @zettewil