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From the same investors who brought you Groupon clone Deal City, say hello to Wimdu
Wimdu, an online marketplace for accommodations, announced Wednesday that it has raised $90 million from Rocket Internet and Kinnevik.
On Wimdu, anyone can list their home, apartment or other property for free, and set any rate they see fit. The open-ended platform allows for any number of possibilities, from a cheap single bedroom in San Francisco to a mansion in Maine to a sailboat in Seattle. People who list on the site are typically travelers on a budget who fancy meeting the locals in new places.
In exchange for some extra money and the chance to meet new people, hosts share their space with cash-strapped travelers looking for something different. Everybody wins.
The site currently lists 10,000 private accommodations in over 50 countries.
Not too affectionately, Wimdu has been labeled an Airbnb clone, since that startup is best linked with the concept of listing homes and spaces online for travelers looking for cheap and/or unique accommodations. Wimdu even acknowledges this slightly in its press release, stating the company, “which emphasizes traveling like a local, is a fresh alternative to existing competitors.”
You might find it difficult to convince Airbnb that the “traveling like a local” emphasis is much, if any, of a distinction between the two companies.
Making the clone war even more notable is that Airbnb reportedly is about to close a new $100 million round of funding that values the startup at $1 billion. Investors in the round are rumored to be Andreessen Horowitz and Digital Sky Technologies, both with histories of backing mega-rounds for quickly growing, successful startups.
Wimdu’s investors, on the other hand, are famous for investing in European clones of successful American Web companies. The most obvious example of this was City Deal, which Groupon ended up buying for $200 million to cement its European presence.
Could today’s funding round be a bit of a warning to Airbnb that they should be raising even more money? You know, to pay for the Wimdu acquisition in a few months...
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Airbnb.com is the “Ebay of space.” The online marketplace allows anyone from private residents to commercial properties to rent out their extra space. The reputation-based site allows for user reviews, verification, and online transactions, for which Airbnb takes a commission. As of June, 2009, the San Francisco-based company has listings in over 1062 cities in 76 countries.