SINGAPORE-BASED vacation rental start-up travelmob has agreed to an acquisition by Nasdaq-listed HomeAway, a leading online marketplace for vacation rentals.
The price and terms of the deal were not disclosed, although the all-cash transaction is expected to close in a few weeks. Following that, the travelmob management team will retain a 37 per cent share of the business and continue to operate as an independent brand from its Singapore headquarters.
Co-founded and launched in July last year by chief executive officer Turochas Fuad and chief technology officer Prashant Kirtane, the site with its 16-person team operates in eight languages and supports 13 currencies. It provides a secure platform for property owners and managers in Asia-Pacific to list alternative accommodations and hosts global travellers who seek to experience local hospitality and culture. Built on a transaction-based model, travelmob features more than 14,000 short-term rental listings in the region today.
HomeAway said on Tuesday that it expects to incur about US$2 million in additional expenses for the remainder of FY2013 to further grow the travelmob business. Vice-president of Asia-Pacific & Corporate Development John Weimer told BT
yesterday the costs will go towards building the travelmob team and raising greater awareness of the site among travellers. Beyond FY2013, HomeAway is planning to invest much more than US$2 million.
HomeAway chief executive officer Brian Sharples said: "We're excited to work with the experienced travelmob team to address today's market needs in Asia - where vacation rentals are mostly new, but alternative accommodations are not - to build scale and accelerate the development of the vacation rental industry."
HomeAway has steadily invested in Asia-Pacific since April 2011. Besides the purchase of REA Group Limited's holiday rental business and the launch of HomeAway.com.au, the Texas-based company also made a minority investment in China-based vacation rental company Tujia.com last year.
Mr Weiner said Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing leisure travel market in the world, so organising the region's emerging category of alternative accommodations into the largest online marketplace available to global travellers is a very attractive business to HomeAway. "We see the potential as being enormous."