The investors present in the round which were led by 83North were Prime Ventures, EQT Ventures, Coparion, Senovo, Kees Koolen, Lis Ventures, and Chris Hitchen. Claret Capital, which was previously called Harbert European Growth Capital, was also there with both equity and debt. The funds will be invested into product development, for doubling the size of the tech team, and on building the partnerships to keep expanding the supply. Some parts of the funding will also go on opening more Bookiply offices (another part of the business) across Europe so it can increase its availability for regional vocational rental owners.
Founded in 2014, by brothers Johannes Siebers, Michael Siebers, and Rasmus Porsgaard, with its headquarters at Munich, Germany, Holidu is a search engine for vacation rentals. It is the fastest-growing tech company worldwide that aims to finally make the search and booking of vacation rentals easy. Its search engine uses proprietary image recognition technology to compare the price of millions of rental properties across hundreds of websites like Airbnb, Booking.com, and HomeAway. This enables the users to quickly find the ideal accommodation and save up to 55% of their booking. It can only be used to search only for listings with a free cancellation policy.
Holidu is active in 21 countries with its search engine which now has more than 15 million rental offers from over a thousand travel sites and property managers. In July 2020, more than 27 million travellers had used this product. It has seen a 50% year-over-year growth in 2020 and growth of greater than 2 times in its contribution margin.
The search engine has a mixed business model , with Holidu taking a commission per click with a minority of its partners and earning a commission for each booking generated with the majority.
The other part of its business which is under the Bookiply brand works directly with property owners to help them have maximum bookings via a software-and-service solution — offering to take the digital management strain in exchange for a cut of (successful) bookings. Till 2019, it was managing 5000 properties via Bookiply, and now according to the founders, it is “on track” to grow to more than 10000 properties by the end of 2021.
What do the founders say?
“We see that many travellers have chosen vacation rentals in rural destinations over hotels or cities,” confirms CEO and co-founder Johannes Siebers. “In spite of this shift in preference, the overall European vacation rental market declined in 2020 due to the strong travel restrictions in many months. Holidu managed to grow against this trend by responding very quickly to the increased demand for domestic lodging and for flexible cancellation options.”
What do the investors say?
Laurel Bowden, partner at 83North said: “Vacation rentals are a very competitive market, and Holidu’s growth throughout the pandemic has been highly impressive. We are attracted by their strong operating efficiency and proven ability to grow market by market.”
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