Housetrip.com, Europe’s answer to AirBnB, announced Monday that it has raised $16.9 million in a round of funding led by Index Ventures and Balderton Capital. Index also led Housetrip.com’s $2.7 million Series A round back in April, bringing the company’s total funding to more than $19 million.
Launched in January 2010, the vacation rental site boasts an impressive listing that includes 55,000 properties across 40 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, and Africa. Housetrip.com now sees some one million unique monthly visitors and the company tells me that it has seen a 1000% increase in revenue between 2010 and 2011.
Of course, the AirBnB fiasco over the summer has left something of a bad taste in the mouths of many people when it comes to peer-to-peer vacation rental sites. So how does Housetrip protect its users? A company spokesperson tells me that the site advises hosts to ask guests for a refundable security deposit to cover any damages. Additionally, more than 90% of the hosts on the site are professional vacation rental owners who make a living out of renting out their properties, so most don’t keep personal possessions in their properties.
Meanwhile, Housetrip holds a guest’s payment for two days into the stay in the event that a host doesn’t hold up with his end of the deal.
"Balderton chose to invest in Housetrip because we felt it offered the best model in a rapidly-growing sector,” said Tim Bunting of Balderton Capital, in a statement. “Housetrip has the vision and passion to win the race in the battle for consumers’ hearts and Balderton were particularly enticed by the attractive and skilled team under the leadership of founder, Arnaud Bertrand."
Bunting will also be joining Neil Rimer of Index Ventures on Housetrip’s board of directors.
The company plans to use the new funds to boost the website’s functionality and development, recruit more hosts and large-scale apartment rental firms, marketing, and adding more languages to the site.