HomeAway Mulls Venture Fund As It Hits A Milestone
The vacation rental marketplace HomeAway is pondering a move into backing startup companies.
As it passes a recent milestone of breaking more than 1 million listings on its service, one of the first online marketplaces to challenge the hotel industry may begin making minority investments in companies that would add value to its service.
“There are lots of entrepreneurs in the travel space — and now in particular around the vacation rental space,” says Brian Sharples, HomeAway’s co-founder and chief executive. “We’re very actively looking at [investing]. Historically we have either bought companies outright or bought a joint position.”
Indeed, since it was launched in 2005, HomeAway has made roughly 20 acquisitions, according to Sharples. “Mostly what we do is we buy leading companies in other countries that we’re not in,” he says. “When you have a success in the U.S., entrepreneurs from all over the world start creating businesses that they hope you’re going to buy.”