Online travel start-up raises $US2.1 million, merges with European site

Online travel start-up has merged with short-term rental site in a bid to scale up, and has secured US $2.1 million in seed funding to accelerate its growth.

With offices in New York and Singapore, Roomorama is available in major markets including the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

The start-up was founded by Jia En Teo and Federico Folcia who came up with the idea after renting their New York apartments to tourists to subsidise their own travel plans.

The pair soon realised the huge demand for a service that handled short-term rental transactions in a quick, easy and secure way, which led to the launch of in January 2009.

Roomorama is one of the pioneers in the short-term rental space, with more than 80% of its inventory comprised of professionally-managed and private properties.

The site is used mainly by families, working professionals and small groups.

In 2011, Roomorama reported an average gross booking of $1330, with its present booking numbers at around 200,000 nights to date.

Roomorama has also increased its Australian presence – its Australian property portfolio grew by more than 150% in 2011. It now has more than 2000 Australian properties in its ranks.

Australia was Roomorama’s second most frequent user base in 2011, just behind the US, and also ranked among the top 10 global destinations.

Overall, Roomorama has a current listing of more than 50,000 properties in more than 3600 locations worldwide, but is on track to double this number by the end of 2012.

Aiding that expansion is, a Europe-focused, short-term rental cite founded by French entrepreneur and investor Fabrice Grinda.

“We’re happy to announce that Roomorama and Lofty have joined forces… There are exciting changes on the horizon,” said a statement on Lofty’s website.

“Rest assured, we are working around the clock to guarantee a seamless integration and an even more pleasant user experience.”

The merger comes with an injection of US $2.1 million in seed funding.

Investors in the company include Jose Marin, PROfounders Capital, Lerer Media Ventures and Thrive Capital Partners.

“We are currently working on integrating about 300,000 properties from Lofty’s inventory, which will make us one of the largest online short-term rental providers,” Teo said in a statement.

“International travellers and property owners are continuing to embrace the short-term rental model.”

“I’m confident that this merger will deliver what the industry has been seeking – higher quality, improved reliability and a swifter booking process.”

This article first appeared on Startupsmart.


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