With Airbnb, HomeAway, Roomorama and plenty of others, there’s no shortage of vacation rental platforms for travelers to browse. Add to the list Vacatia, a secondary marketplace aimed at timeshare owners who want to sell their fractional interests to other travelers. The startup has raised $5 million in seed funding from investors, including Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow; Erik Blachford, former CEO of Expedia; Greg Waldorf, Trulia board member; Thomas Byrne, former president of LoopNet and more.
The idea behind Vacatia is to provide an active, open and liquid marketplace for professionally managed resort rentals, CEO and founder Keith Cox tells me. While buying timeshares from developers is no problem for most people, owners who want to sell often have a hard time finding buyers, Cox says.
“If we could create a very strong platform where buyers and sellers could engage each other and make for a liquid marketplace … then if we can activate that secondary market, it would bring more equilibrium and efficiency to that market,” he tells me.
To list a property online, Vacatia users create a free account, upload information about the shares they are selling and publish the listing at the price they want. Vacatia will then add information about the resort to further simplify the listing process. Users can also elevate their listings by submitting additional information for Vacatia’s verification process.
Once a buyer and seller are connected, a seller can either accept, counter or reject a buyer’s offer. If the seller accepts, both parties are introduced to a title company to take then through the escrow and closing process. Vacatia then takes a cut of the profits from the seller based on the sale amount (if the timeshare sold for $10,000, Vacatia would take $1,000).
There are several other platforms for listing and selling timeshares, including Ebay, Redweek and Sellmytimesharenow.com. But Cox tells me Vacatia wants to differentiate itself by maintaining a free and open marketplace for all sellers, buyers, brokers and developers. Vacatia has implemented a preferred broker program, which discounts its sales fees by half for participating brokers.
Right now Vacatia only allows resale listings, but Cox says he wants to expand into listings from primary developers and homeowners associations so users can buy directly from developers.
Additional investors include Robert Spottswood, Raymond L. Gellein, Jr., Barry Sternlicht, Steve Hankin, Egon Durban, Douglas Dillard, Jr., Gene Frantz and firms Maveron, Bee Partners, Peterson Ventures and Meyer Ventures.