With immediate effect, the Airbnb clones Wimdu and 9flats are joining forces to build Europe’s biggest online platform for private holiday apartments. Hand in hand, they are planning to work on sustainable growth and profitability.
With the merger of Wimdu GmbH and 9flats comes a new, strong competitor for Airbnb on the growing market for private holiday apartments. Combined, the two companies now offer more than 500,000 properties worldwide.
Both Wimdu and 9flats were unable to become a big/serious competitor for Airbnb. This was already kind of clear back in 2012. Wimdu, which has been founded by Rocket Internet and received almost $100 million in venture capital, now aims to communicate this merger as “a further step towards sustainable and profitable growth”. But for Rocket Internet standards the development of Wimdu almost looks like a failure – although Wimdu stated that the company is recently writing black figures.
Wimdu was able to become profitable due to some restructuring efforts in recent months. More efficient marketing investments, the provision of extra services and a good personnel structure enabled Wimdu to cut their costs per booking in half. The merger with 9flats strengthens the positive outlook for Wimdu to close 2017 profitably.
From now on, business operations will be managed by Singapore-based 9flats PTE Limited. Wimdu and 9flats will remain two brands and will be managed in parallel. Through this strategic measure, an attractive offer can be provided from one source by two of the known brands on the market for private holiday apartments. Jobs and locations remain intact, and further investments in strategically important markets will be made.
The new management of the combined companies will to take over this week. Previous Wimdu CEOs Arne Kahlke and Sören Kress can hand over management to experienced 9flats manager Giacomo Ialenti.
“Eighteen months ago, Sören Kress and I set out to bring Wimdu to profitability. We are pleased that our initiatives in this incredibly competitive environment have shown the necessary success, and that our mission was accomplished earlier than expected. The merger with 9flats will help us to further combine forces and will, as an alliance, be the largest European answer to Airbnb”, summed up Arne Kahlke, who will continue to be available to the company in an advisory capacity.