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Edge Retreats secures funding and appoints Shepherd to board

US / UK: Curated luxury villa rental marketplace Edge Retreats has announced that HomeAway co-founder Carl Shepherd has been appointed on its board of Directors and that it has secured an oversubscribed round of financing to support its accelerated growth curve established during the pandemic.

The luxury vacation rental platform provides its affluent clientele with access to private retreats, including private islands, ski chalets, estates, designer homes, castles and beachfront properties, in exclusive vacation destinations across 50 countries worldwide. Edge Retreats also pairs its properties with a white-glove dedicated concierge service team to meet the needs of every guest, and offerings such as private chefs, drivers, nannies, yachts, helicopters and more for highly coveted experiences.

Edge Retreats CEO Aurelie Lepercq said: “With this round of financing and welcoming Carl to our board as a professional with the highest level of experience in M&A and strategy in the vacation rental industry, I am excited to begin the next phase of our global expansion.”

The latest developments will enable Edge Retreats to continue to pioneer its hybrid model of “high-touch and high-tech” within the premium rental travel sector.

Recognised as one of the founding figures of the modern vacation rental industry having co-founded HomeAway in 2004 and selling it to Expedia in 2015, Shepherd has also served on the board at @Leisure Group, which was purchased by OYO and rebranded as OYO Vacation Homes in 2019, and was an investor and board member of TurnKey Vacation Rentals, which was acquired by Vacasa in April. Vacasa is expected to go public via a SPAC merger in December.

Shepherd said: “The vacation rental industry has been the fastest growing segment in travel for the past fifteen years, and I expect this to continue for at least the next decade as more travellers seek enhanced privacy for their families while on vacation. The luxury sector in particular has seen above-market growth during the pandemic and industry trends indicate that demand will continue to grow in the years to come.

“I am excited to join Edge Retreats and share Aurelie’s vision,” he added.

Lepercq added: “One of the largest opportunities yet underfunded area in the travel industry lies in building products to serve the affluent, luxury market which is particularly drawn to private homes as the base for their vacations.”