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Zoopla founder reveals what made his portal different - and why it’s purple

The founder of Zoopla has explained how the portal got its name and branding, and the philosophy behind it when it took on Rightmove 12 years ago.

Alex Chesterman, one of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs, last year sold ZPG - including Zoopla, uSwitch, PrimeLocation and Money.co.uk - for a cool £2.2 billion.

Now, in a feature on Estate Agent Today this weekend, Chesterman is one of a number of entrepreneurs explaining how his PropTech start up came into being in the mid-2000s and became one of the biggest property sector phenomena of recent years.


“In 2007, it was clear that consumer behaviour was changing in many markets including property. And that this would lead to a shift in the way that consumers would search both for properties and for property-related information. I found it incredibly frustrating that so much data was available but was so hard to access and wanted to add transparency and efficiency to the property market” he explains.

There were around a dozen other portals at the time of Zoopla’s launch - so was it a risk launching yet another? Chesterman says his creation had a USP.

“All of the others were doing exactly the same thing simply providing an online search tool. Zoopla set out to harness the enormous amount of property data that was publicly available to combine property search with research to help users become more informed and make better property-related decisions” Chesterman continues.

And in the interview he explains how the portal got its name and distinctive colour.

“When we launched, it was a very crowded space with dozens of property websites, all with descriptive names like Rightmove, Propertyfinder, Findaproperty, Primelocation and Houseprices. We wanted to innovate and do things differently and deliberately wanted a name that would stand out from the crowd and not limit us or the perception of us to any one specific service. 

“In terms of the purple branding, this was again a deliberate choice to use a colour that no one else really ‘owned’ yet on the internet. So we were really just looking to be different and get noticed which certainly worked” he says. 

Expect more of the same approach with Chesterman’s latest creation - Cazoo, an online platform from which customers will be able to buy, finance or rent a used car online and have it delivered it to their door within 48 hours. It’s believed to be going live in the early autumn.

The full feature on start-up entrepreneurs, which includes other familiar names from our industry, appears on EAT’s Features section here.

  • Mike Riley

    HMMMM.... You could also say it was just a UK version of ZILLOW (and Trulia) Started a few years earlier in the US..... Zoopla .... Zillow.... amazingly similar name given how weirdly named they both are, in exactly the same field with the same USP.


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