A new ticker symbol started trading on the Nasdaq today: RDFN (RDFN). That’s for Redfin, the fast-growing real estate brokerage based in Seattle. It sold shares for the first time in its 13-year history and investors snapped them up. The stock opened at $15 a share and by the close of trading it had surged almost 45% to $21.70.
Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman tells Fortune’s Susie Gharib that the company decided to do the IPO on the tech-heavy Nasdaq because, he says, “We knew we wanted to be a big independent thing, and this is the place where those companies live.”
Redfin is popular with home buyers and sellers because it’s more than just an online site for real estate listings like Zillow and Trulia. Redfin actually sells properties online and uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to help its customers to quickly identify a home that fits their needs. Kelman also says Redfin’s technology speeds up the whole real estate buying process the same way one can order an Uber or a Lyft with the click of a button.
Redfin is often compared to its much larger real estate neighbor, Zillow, also headquartered in Seattle. When asked what Redfin can do to turn his company into a household brand like Zillow, he shrugs it off. “People knew about IBM before they knew about Apple,” he says. “Sometimes it takes a little longer for better to win.” He adds, “We don’t need to take the world by storm. We just need to make our customers happy and when we do that, the word spreads.”
Looking at the success of today’s IPO, it appears that Glenn Kelman is doing a pretty good job of spreading the word.