Trulia bulking up finance, legal teams as IPO prospects loom

Trulia, the San Francisco-based real estate search company, has added two new executives with public company experience as it moves toward an initial public offering of its own.

Sean Aggarwal, Trulia's new CFO

Trulia has hired Sean Aggarwal to serve as its first CFO and Scott Darling to serve as its first full-time general counsel. Previously, Aggarwal was VP of finance at PayPal, the payment processing arm of eBay(s EBAY), the publicly traded e-commerce giant. His resume also includes senior finance roles at Amazon(s AMZN) and PepsiCo(s PEP). Darling was previously general counsel at Imperva(s IMPV), the publicly traded data security company.

Hiring a CFO with public company experience is often one of the things a company does in the run-up to its own IPO, and Trulia has made no secret of its hope to eventually go public. Recent reports have pegged Trulia’s IPO as on track for 2012, and these new executive appointments would be in line with that timeline.

In an interview Thursday, Trulia CEO Pete Flint talked up the company’s recent growth but demurred from talking directly about IPO plans. “The growth of the company is really awesome; we’re growing super fast,” Flint said. “We certainly see the market opportunity as enormous. Whether that translates into staying private or going public, we’ll continue on our path.”

It bears mentioning that Trulia’s competitor Zillow went public (s Z) this past summer, but at the moment, its stock market performance isn’t the brightest: On Thursday, its share price hit a new all-time low of $21.56, dipping close to its IPO price of $20 per share. But there are some notable differences between the two companies: Trulia hit profitable operations a year ago, while Zillow only hit profitability after its July IPO; and in the past, Flint has noted that Trulia prioritizes its engineering operations more strongly than its competitors.

When asked about the competitive landscape this week, however, Flint kept his comments general: “It’s an enormous industry and a very meaningful industry, and there will be multiple players in the marketplace. That’s a good thing for us and a good thing for the ecosystem.” And it seems that ecosystem will certainly be a space to watch in the months ahead.