Google Capital Puts $50M into Auction.com

One of the world’s largest online real estate marketplaces, Auction.com, has received a $50 million investment, courtesy of Google Capital.

 By Scott Baltic, Contributing Editor

Auction guy

Jeff Frieden, Auction.com

Auction.com, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., has received a $50 million investment from Google Capital, the two companies announced yesterday.

As part of the investment, one representative from Google Capital will join the Auction.com board of directors and another will take a board observer position.

“Google Capital invests in late-stage technology companies that are fundamentally changing the way people do business,” Jeff Frieden, CEO & co-founder of Auction.com, told Commercial Property Executive. “Auction.com has revolutionized how real estate is bought and sold by leveraging the power of the internet to create a global real estate marketplace. We believe that this partnership will help us accelerate the transition of real estate transactions from offline to online.”

More than $7 billion of commercial and residential real estate traded through Auction.com’s online marketplace in 2013, he said in a release, adding “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.”

“Auction.com has quietly built one of the largest marketplaces on the web,” said David Lawee, partner at Google Capital, in the same release. “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 L.L.C. served as sole private placement agent for Auction.com in conjunction with the transaction.

Other strategic shareholders in Auction.com include Starwood Capital Group, Starwood Property Trust, Stone Point Capital and funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group.

Google Capital was formed in 2013 and previously invested in Survey Monkey, Lending Club and Renaissance Learning.

About two weeks ago, Auction.com announced that on March 10 it would be auctioning the historic Woolworth Building in downtown Los Angeles. The online auction, on behalf of a private owner, will be done in conjunction with Starwood Mortgage Capital, as a potential source of debt financing to the successful purchaser.