Spanish startup, Knok, a holiday home exchange community that competes with the UK's Love Home Swap and legacy player IHEN, has raised a further €500,000 (~$645k) to help it accelerate international growth and build out its technology. The backing comes from private investors and adds to the company's initial €250,000 (~$323k) of self-funding.
Founded in 2011, Barcelona-based Knok lets members connect so that they can swap homes as an alternative to staying in a hotel or rented holiday home when on vacation. Alongside its community features, the site provides add-ons such as bespoke home-swapping insurance, “smart” search, personalised exchange recommendations, and private messaging to protect the privacy of its members.
The startup makes money primarily by charging members a subscription, and claims 20,000 users in 159 countries who Knok says can make savings of between 1,500 and 2,500 euros for a 15‐day vacation. In addition, the pitch is that via home swapping members enjoy larger and more comfortable accommodation compared to a hotel and also benefit from the local knowledge of the home owner - a very similar pitch to Love Home Swap.
To put Knok's new round of funding into context, however, Love Home Swap announced in November that it had raised a further £800k from MMC Ventures, bringing its total funding since launch in late 2009 to £1.65m (~$2.5m).