Airbnb competitor Wimdu to close by the end of this year

Europe: Wimdu, Europe’s most well-funded clone of Airbnb, is to close by the end of the year owing to ‘significant financial and business challenges’.

Partners of the company were informed by the message on Thursday, nine years after Wimdu was founded and labelled as the ‘Airbnb killer’.

The news means that Wimdu will have to lay off its workforce in Berlin and Lisbon by the end of the year, accounting for around 110 employees.

Wimdu had received more than $90 million in funding, primarily from Rocket Internet and AB Kinnevik.

A Denmark-based vacation-home marketer owned by the European Vacation Rentals unit of Wyndham Worldwide, Novasol, was cleared to take ownership of the company in 2017, when it tried to make Wimdu profitable by laying off around 25 employees.

Then in early 2018, Wyndham sold its European vacation rental business to Platinum Equity for a reported $1.3 billion as it makes changes to its business portfolio.

Wimdu said in a statement: “All guests and hosts having 2018 bookings – with a check-in date occurring before or on the 31-December-2018 – will be carried out professionally and reliably. All guests with 2019 bookings – with a check-in date occurring after the 31-December-2018 – will be contacted separately to deal with their respective booking.”

This will come as good news for Berlin-based price comparison search engine, HomeToGo.

In 2017, the company raised a Series C round but declined to disclose the amount in question, saying only that it was ‘a significant eight-figure number’. Before that, it had raised $26.6 million in funding.

One of HomeToGo’s largest market rivals, Tripping.com was forced to lay off staff earlier this month following an ‘ugly’ conflict between its founders and board.

With news of Wimdu’s closure, HomeToGo will now become Europe’s largest, best-funded, profitable and fastest-growing startup in the vacation rental search sector.