The Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) is home to one of the top MBA programs in the country with more than 28,000 alumni spread out around the world. This community is composed of some of the top C-Level alumni and business leaders in the world, which offers MBA students an incredible opportunity to learn from and interact with those who came before. One of those alumni is Pete Flint, the previous founder and CEO of real estate technology firm Trulia and a managing partner at NFX Guild, a startup accelerator.
Early Career and Education
Pete Flint started his career by earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from Oxford University in 1997. It was while there that he began to witness the dawn of the commercial Internet. According to an interview with Floreat Magdalena, the magazine of the Magdalen College at Oxford University, Flint saw a world of power and opportunity, and he saw his future in the new economy. So, shortly after graduating, he jumped at the chance to join lastminute.com when it was only an idea.
Lastminute.com, an online travel and leisure retailer, became a large part of the U.K. Internet travel booking industry in the late 1990s. During the five years he spent there, Flint helped to scale the company from a business plan to a public company with 2,000 employees and operations in 11 countries. Sabre Group acquired the company for $1.1 billion in 2005, two years after Flint left.
“I helped build the company from the ground up focusing on marketing and business development, in what was a remarkable story and an incredible learning experience,” he told the Floreat. Then, in 2003, he moved to Silicon Valley to pursue his MBA at Stanford GSB. It was there when everything began to change.
Trulia, Founder and CEO (2004 – 2015)
“While at Stanford, I began to look for off-campus housing,” he explained in the Floreat article. “Up to that point, I’d used the Internet to help with most of my relocation from buying a car and purchasing travel, to buying local groceries. But astoundingly, there was no good online service to find real estate.” That was the birth of Trulia.
Flint started Trulia in May 2004 alongside his co-founder, Sami Inkinen, a fellow Stanford GSB MBA. They created the company with the goal of simplifying the process of finding a new home through technology.
In September 2005, they officially launched their beta product, which initially only served properties in California but grew quickly. After listing agents began wanting more visibility nationwide, Trulia expanded to cover the entire United States less than a year later. By 2012, Trulia reported 22 million unique monthly visitors and filed for an initial public offering (IPO).
In August 2012, Trulia announced plans to raise up to $75 million in the IPO, with stocks priced at $17 per share on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “TRLA.” When trading began on September 20, 2012, the opening price was $22.10. Less than a year later, Trulia acquired WA-based Market Leader Inc. for $355 million, which allowed the company to expand its offerings for real estate agents.
By the end, Trulia employed more than 1,000 individuals in San Francisco, Seattle, New York City and Denver, earning an annual revenue of $144 million (in 2013) and counting more than 54 million consumers on the service every month. But the biggest change for Flint and Trulia came in 2014 when Zillow acquired it for $3.5 billion.
Then, almost exactly 10 years after starting Trulia, Flint left his role as longtime CEO to join NFX Guild as a partner alongside James Currier, Gigi Weiss and Stan Chudnovsky. “After 10 years of starting and building Trulia, I kind of needed to recharge my batteries,” he told Inman.
NFX Guild (2014-Present)
NFX Guild, a young mentorship-driven startup accelerator, brought Flint back to his tech roots. According to an interview with TechCrunch, the opportunity allowed Flint to combine four of his passions:
- Company mentorship
- Building community
“I found during my own entrepreneurial journey that the best advice was often sort of through this safe sharing between peers,” he told TechCrunch.
Currently, NFX is investing a $15 million fund with its third batch of startups, and it’s looking to raise a second fund of about $100 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.
A network of scouts refers companies for possible participation in NFX. Once inside, each company is provided with $120,000 along with 30 hours of programming, mentoring, and introductions to investors. NFX runs two, three-month programs each year for classes of around 20 startups.
“I believe that the network effects which are at the heart of the Zillow and Trulia models and what I’m focused on at NFX Guild are core to their resilience and will make them much stronger long-term businesses than newer companies like Opendoor,” Flint told Inman. “NFX Guild has done research that the majority of value created by the technology industry over the last several decades comes from companies that heavily exploit network effects.”
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