US short-term rental website Airbnb is stepping up its expansion into Asia, with an office already being set up in Singapore, reported CNET Asia.
The writer notes that instead of acquiring a local player, a strategy that Birchbox and Groupon employs, Airbnb has decided to compete directly with the likes of Roomorama, Travelmob, and iBilik instead. It will also be fighting for market share with 9flats, a German company that set up shop in Singapore last year.
Users accessing the Airbnb website in Singapore will be instantly redirected to www.airbnb.com.sg. The site has support for many Asian currencies like the Indonesian Rupiah, Japanese Yen, and the Philippine Peso. However, only English is available for now.
Singapore-based short-term rental marketplace Travelmob announced yesterday that it has raised USD1M in seed funding. The round is led by Jungle Ventures with participation from Silicon Valley VC firm Accel Partners and private investors around the region.
Founded in July 2012, Travelmob allows hosts to list their place on the website as travel accommodation for tourists. It is similar to sites such as Airbnb, 9flats, and Roomorama.
The startup is founded by Turochas “T” Fuad and Prashant Kirtane. Turochas was the managing director for Skype Asia while Prashant was the senior director of engineering at Yahoo!. Read more
Lofty's landing page.
Roomorama, a Singapore-based vacations rental site, has merged with Lofty, a similar service, to scale up their business, reported TechCrunch.
They’ve also secured US$2.1M in seed funding from individuals like Jose Marin and venture capital firms PROFounders, Lerer Media, and Thrive Capital.
Lofty will be folded into Roomorama’s existing platform, with their B2B sales and management team transferred over but not their technical side. Read more
The Roomorama co-founders believe their short-term rentals website can compete with Airbnb.
The downside of trailing behind a market leader is that you’re often compared with them. Sites like Roomorama, 9flats, and Wimdu certainly have to deal with this reality — since Airbnb was the first to launch their short term rentals site in August 2008.
But just because you’re last off the starting block doesn’t mean you’ll flounder. Facebook, for example, quickly overtook Friendster and MySpace to become the defacto social network for Bieber-idolizing teens and longsighted grannies alike.
Roomorama is more accurately described as a fraternal twin than a clone. The website, co-founded by Singaporean Teo Jia En and Italian native Federico Folcia, was birthed in January 2009 — just five months after Airbnb.
But the idea was already developing while they were colleagues at the Bloomberg office in New York City. As avid travelers, they found it challenging to get cheap accommodation while vacationing in Europe.
At the same time, while they wanted to rent out their own apartment, existing online classifieds were hard to use and inconvenient.
Their business idea blossomed. And now, with more than 30,000 listed properties around the globe, the team has recently shifted part of their base of operations to Singapore to focus on growth in the Asian markets. Read more