Airbnb buys German clone Accoleo, opens first European office in Hamburg

Airbnb just raised $100 million at a $1 billion valuation, and it’s using some of that cash (and/or stock) to acquire a German ‘equivalent’ dubbed Accoleo. This move signals Airbnb’s willingness to expand worldwide – the startup will establish its first European office in Hamburg, Germany.

Coincidentally, one of its main rivals in Europe, venture-backed 9flats – started by Qype founder Stephan Uhrenbacher – is also based in Germany (Berlin, to be more precise).

Airbnb is exploding: after growing more than 800% last year, the company will soon hit 2 million nights booked in other people’s homes via their website. Airbnb properties are currently available in more than 13,000 cities and 181 countries all over the globe.

In a recent interview with GigaOM, Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia said the service is becoming increasingly popular for listings abroad, and that a major focus in the near future will be on customizing the site to better facilitate that international growth. Gebbia expressed interest in Europe, South America and Asia (he cites China) for global expansion.

The acquisition of Accoleo, terms of which were not disclosed, fits neatly into that picture. Accoleo founder Gunnar Froh will be heading Airbnb’s operations in Germany.