Hotel Urbano’s founders give up majority control
The brothers who founded Hotel Urbano, the Brazilian travel startup, have decided to step down.
They’ll be replaced by a new management team that has plans for international expansion and a possible initial public offering in the United States. Today Maurizio de Franciscis, the chief operating officer, is in charge.
In a deal this autumn, Insight Venture Partners, the venture fund, took possession of 41% of the shares, more than the founders’ 35% share. The fund, which has invested in the company since its Series A, used to own less than a third of the startup.
The deal places a post-money valuation on the company of about $510 million dollars.
Last summer, the Priceline Group took a minority stake in Hotel Urbano by investing $60 million in it.
Founded in late 2010, the Rio de Janeiro startup has raised more than $135 million in funding, to date.
Co-founder and CEO João Ricardo Mendes wrote an email to Hotel Urbano friends today that said that he and his brother, José Eduardo, will be taking a year off as a sabbatical from the startup that they founded in late 2010 and that now employs nearly 700 people.
The email said:
“We got together with our Board of Directors and investors and decided it was time for HU to have a top-notch management team with only the best and experience executive talent available.
This team – together with us – will lead HU to the NEXT LEVEL: international expansion, sustainable growth and an IPO later on down the road.
We carried out this transition process throughout the past weeks and we’re highly confident we’ve built a team that is fully capable of achieving something we planned out since day-one: to be the first Brazilian tech company to be listed on a prime stock exchange in the United States!”
The brothers added that they will remain on the board of directors. Earlier this year they made Demetrius Rapello CTO.
The email didn’t say if the company is profitable.
Their company haggles discounts from travel suppliers for unsold hotel rooms and vacation packages worldwide — though its strongest inventory is in Brazil and Latin America.
An IPO would make Hotel Urbano the first Brazilian tech company to ring the bell in New York City.
This year the startup joined many Brazilian travel companies in facing slower rates of growth as the domestic economy faced strong headwinds due partly to political stresses over accusations of corruption and unrest about the Olympics development effort having diverted resources from the needs of the general public.
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