Rumours of a $100 million+ funding round for the Silicon Valley-based Airbnb have circulated for a few weeks, but the company has so far refused to comment on the speculation.
Confirmation of Wimdu’s trousering of a massive $90 million came this morning from an official in its office in Beijing, China. The round comes from European investors Kinnevik from Sweden and Rocket Internet in Germany.
The official declined to outline what the company intends to do with such a large influx of capital, but presumably it will help fuel a major expansion programme for the fledgling startup.
In two months the company has already managed to secure a presence in ten offices around the world and it claims to have around 10,000 properties listed from 30 countries.
But it’s growth and dramatic plop into the marketplace appears to be irritating its rival on the US west coast (and in the Silicon Valley tech press, who consistently refer to Wimdu as a clone), with Airbnb supposedly sending emails to customers warning them about “imposter websites”.
Nevertheless, Airbnb has not exactly covered itself in glory in recent weeks after admitting that a number of rogue contract salespeople had used somewhat stealthy tactics to capture new properties owners via US classified service Craigslist.
In terms of the wider marketplace, with Wimdu capturing its funding round, Airbnb apparently on the brink of its own deal, European startup 9Flats recently securing $10 million and mega-brand HomeAway heading into an IPO, those holding the investment capital are clearly seeing vacation rental as the place to put their money.
This is not forgetting TripAdvisor’s focus in the sector, of course, with it snapping up the UK firm HolidayLettings in June 2010 as part of its own efforts to grow the vacation rental wing of the business.