BusinessWeek“Digg is just one of the tech ventures that has been able to raise money during the last few tumultuous months. Here are some of the promisisng companies that have scared up capital since early September…
“HomeAway: Became the world’s largest Internet vacation-home service through the acquisition of 10 online vacation-rental sites.
Amount of Funding: $250 million
Investors: Institutional Venture Partners, Technology Crossover Ventures, and Redpoint Ventures
Date of Funding, 2008: Nov. 11”
Wall Street Journal“For the New Year, The Wall Street Journal asked some influential people three questions: What professional project do you plan to complete in 2009? What personal resolution do you finally hope to keep next year? And what problem should your industry or professional community tackle more effectively?...
Brian Sharples, 48
CEO of HomeAway, Austin, Texas
PROFESSIONAL: If you take all our traffic it is the eighth largest online travel destination in the world, but it's still a conglomeration of sites. We want to achieve the full technical integration of all of our companies.
PERSONAL: To turn off my Blackberry and to stop thinking about work 24 hours a day.
INDUSTRY: Making it as easy to find and book vacation properties as easy as it is to do in hotels.”
Austin American Statesman“...I set out to survey Austin venture capitalists and entrepreneurs about their predictions for 2009...
“...Brian Sharples, whose company HomeAway Inc. raised a record $250 million in November:
‘Biggest hope: Austin has always been powered by creativity and optimism. I hope we all keep a positive attitude — and everyone will be just fine.’
‘Biggest fear: That the less optimistic people from other parts of the country decide to move here.’”
San Francisco Chronicle“Americans of all ages and conditions are reducing their European costs by scheduling stays of at least a week in each of the cities they visit, and then proceeding to rent an apartment in place of a hotel. A large industry has emerged of companies that make short-term apartments available to tourists in every major city: Homeaway.com, VRBO.com,...and many others. All seem to be thriving, as cost-conscious Americans turn decisively to alternative accommodations for their holidays abroad.”
San Francisco Chronicle“HomeAway (www.homeaway.com; (512) 493-0382), the largest online vacation rental site, also posts a deals page, which links to dozens of special offers in California, Florida, Hawaii and Mexico. Some are short-term deals for just the month; others go through the relatively slow January season, and some go into early spring. The individual listings do not claim any specific discounts, but some of the prices look very good.”
Frommers.com“Inis Ealu (tel. 664/491-5270; www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p202931) offer guests a secluded island oasis with panoramic views of the island's surrounding ocean and lush tropical rainforest. The villa is equipped with a well-appointed gourmet kitchen that includes dishwasher, granite counters and a poolside mahogany bar for those cozy al fresco moonlit dinners. The master-suite features a king-size bed, walk-in closet, en suite bath with shower and a private balcony. Rates range from $1,000 to $1,500 per week for a maximum of six persons.”
Business Journal of Milwaukee“Lastly, popular destinations like Door County can be attractive to European travelers who are familiar with the concept of renting vacation homes, according to homeaway.com, an internatioal Web site.”
USA Today“While many businesses struggle during the recession, a handful of U.S. and global companies... are riding out the financial storm in good shape...
“HomeAway isn't growing recklessly, though, like start-ups during the dot-com boom and crash almost a decade ago. The firm just paid down $100 million in debt, and it will slow hiring and acquisitions if the economy keeps tanking.”