Expedia acquires Pillow and ApartmentJet to conquer the short-term rental market

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To keep up with the rising demand for short-term rentals in U.S. cities and compete with the home-sharing giant Airbnb, travel booking site Expedia has picked up a pair of venture-backed hospitality startups, Pillow and ApartmentJet.

Employees of both companies will join Expedia. The company declined to disclose the financial terms of the deals.

“Acquiring Pillow and ApartmentJet will help unlock urban growth opportunities that, over time, will contribute to HomeAway’s ability to add an even broader selection of accommodations to its marketplace and marketplaces across Expedia Group brands, ensuring travelers always find the perfect place to stay,” the company explained in a statement.

Expedia paid $3.9 billion for HomeAway and its portfolio of travel brands in 2015. The deal was its first major move in the alternative accommodations space, as well as the beginning of a series of efforts to outdo VC darling Airbnb. Its latest targets provide software tools for property managers to easily manage short-term rentals on Airbnb competitors like HomeAway and VRBO.

Located in San Francisco, Pillow helps residents list their apartments as short-term rentals without violating their leases. It’s raised a total of $16.5 million in VC backing since 2013, including a $13.5 million round last year led by Mayfield, with participation from Sterling.VC, Peak Capital Partners, Expansion VC, Chris Anderson, Gary Vaynerchuk, Dennis Phelps and Veritas Investments.

ApartmentJet helps property owners earn money off vacancies. Founded in 2016, the Chicago-headquartered startup had raised a reported $1.2 million in capital from Network Ventures and BlueTree.

Bellevue-based Expedia Group owns several travel brands, including HomeAway, VRBO, Travelocity, trivago, Orbitz and Hotels.com. The company is both an active investor in and acquirer of startups.

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Expedia’s shares rose 9.4 percent Thursday after its third-quarter earnings beat analyst expectations. The company posted $3.28 billion in revenue, a notable increase from last year’s $2.97 billion.

Source: TechCrunch

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