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Vacation Rentals Search Engine Holidu Raises €5M Series A

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It was only last July that HomeToGo, a European ‘metasearch’ engine for holiday rentals, raised €6 million in Series A funding. And now competitor Holidu has gotten in on the fundraising action.

The Munich-based company has closed a €5 million Series A round led by EQT ventures. Also participating is Venture Stars, and Senovo, who join existing angel investors led by Australian entrepreneur Chris Hitchen. The startup plans to use the additional capital for accelerated growth and further expansion.

Holidu lets you search for holiday accommodation, including the ability to compare prices and amenities, spanning an index of over 3 million vacation rentals worldwide. The search engine scans vacation rental offers from hundreds of websites and uses what it describes as “proprietary image recognition technology” to identify the lowest price for each rental.

The startup was founded in July 2014 by brothers Johannes and Michael Siebers, and employs 20 people. Prior to today’s disclosed round, it previously raised €1 million via a mixture of seed financing and grants. The service is currently available in English, German, French, Spanish, and Dutch.

“Finding and booking a vacation rentals is still highly frustrating for consumers, because the market is so fragmented,” Holidu co-founder and CEO Johannes Siebers tells me. “There are hundreds of vacation rental sites as HomeAway, Booking.com, TripAdvisor or AirBnB as well as thousands of local specialists with a regional focus.

“Many of the sites offer the same rentals but at different prices. Also, there is a large rate of rejected booking as the different sites don’t synchronize calendars with each other and properties get double-booked. For consumers it is impossible to gain a transparent overview.”

He says that Holidu solves this problem by enabling you to compare vacation rental offers in one single search and to always find the best price for a specific rental. “It is astonishing how large the price differences for some rentals are,” he says, noting that savings of more than 50 per cent for the same rental in the same time period are possible.

“Among other things, we use proprietary image recognition technology to detect identical vacation rentals on different websites and in order to find the best prices and only show rentals that really are available,” adds Siebers.