Jeff FriedenIrvine and Silicon Valley, Calif. — Google Capital, a growth equity fund backed by Google, has invested $50 million in Auction.com LLC, a privately held online commercial and residential real estate marketplace. As part of the investment, one representative from Google Capital will join Auction.com's board of directors and another will take a board observer position.
"Google is the world's greatest Internet company, and we're thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with them. This will give us an opportunity to tap into their deep expertise in digital marketing and mobile, as well as in building world-class products," says Jeff Frieden, CEO and co-founder of Auction.com. "Over $7 billion of commercial and residential real estate traded through our online marketplace in 2013, and we believe that having Google Capital's support will help us expand our industry leadership, and carve out a bigger share of the global real estate market."
Google Capital joins other shareholders in Auction.com, including Starwood Capital Group, Starwood Property Trust, Stone Point Capital and funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group. Auction.com annually handles tens of thousands of transactions for customers, ranging from large financial institutions to individuals and brokers.
"Auction.com has quietly built one of the largest marketplaces on the web," says David Lawee, partner at Google Capital. "We think Auction.com can fundamentally change how real estate, and particularly commercial real estate, can be bought and sold, leveling the playing field for smaller investors."
JPMorgan Securities LLC served as sole private placement agent for Auction.com in conjunction with the transaction.
Google Capital was formed in 2013 and has previously invested in Survey Monkey, Lending Club and Renaissance Learning.
Auction.com LLC was founded in 2008 and has sold nearly $20 billion in assets since 2010. Auction.com has more than 900 employees and offices in Irvine and Silicon Valley, Calif., as well as offices in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Denver; Miami; and Newport Beach, Calif.
— John Nelson