HomeAway, the NASDAQ-listed rival to Airbnb, has fully acquired Travelmob, the Asia-focused rental and listings site that it bought a majority stake in back two years ago, in an undisclosed deal that sharpens its focus on the Asia Pacific region.
The U.S. firm’s acquisition of 63 percent of Travelmob in July 2013 was its first foray into Asia, and now it is taking things to the next level with the launch of 14 new localized websites across China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Kora and other Asian markets. As part of that push — and now that it is 100 percent owned — Travelmob has been rebranded to HomeAway, with its website now redirecting to its parent company’s.
Texas-based HomeAway, which claims to have more than one million listings in over 190 countries worldwide, started slow, but it is now actively increasing the ante in Asia, according to CEO and co-founder Brian Sharples.
“We’ve been steadily investing in Asia Pacific since 2011, and with the Travelmob acquisition complete, we have a very strong and experienced team in place,” he said in a statement. “We will be ramping-up our investments to ensure that we provide the highest quality of service and the very best selection of homes for Asian travelers.”
Travelmob was an early exit for Jungle Ventures, the Singapore-based VC firm that recently launched its second, $100 million fund. But, as part of the full buyout, the startup’s founding team is splitting up. Prashant Kirtane, Travelmob’s CTO, will continue to be based in Singapore and becomes HomeAway vice president of Asia, but former Travelmob CEO Turochas Fuad is leaving to start a new startup, his third venture.
Airbnb claims two million properties in over 34,000 cities across 190 countries, putting it some way ahead of HomeAway. The company came to Asia first and it believes it can unlock more than two million listings across the region in the long run — much of that could come from its focus on China, where it is setting up a local operation.
HomeAway has connections in China, too. It was an early investor in Tujia.com, an Airbnb-like service that raised $60 million this summer at a $300 million valuation, while it has partnerships with Wego and Tripvillas.