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Vacasa

Private Equity Looks to Challenge Airbnb With Vacasa Deal

Investors were eager to put money into a business that could become a stronger competitor to Airbnb.

(Bloomberg)—Vacasa LLC, an online vacation rental company, raised $104 million from a group of private equity firms looking to build up a challenger to Airbnb.

The Portland, Oregon-based startup said it received funding from Riverwood Capital, Level Equity, NewSpring Capital and other backers. The investment, led by Riverwood, nearly doubled the startup’s valuation from the previous round, said two people familiar with the deal. The company declined to disclose the valuation.

Investors were eager to put money into a business that could become a stronger competitor to Airbnb and then perhaps one day be an acquisition target, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. Airbnb Inc., Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group Inc. have been buying up home-rental startups in the last year or so.

The high-end rental business is a key growth area for the travel industry. Companies are seeking to boost profits by targeting wealthy travelers. In February, Airbnb purchased Luxury Retreats, which offers tools similar to Vacasa for managing vacation properties remotely.

Vacasa’s website lets homeowners rent and promote their homes, and connects them with maintenance and cleaning services. Customers can book those properties through the site. The company was founded in 2009 but hadn’t sought capital from investors until recently. Vacasa secured its first round of funding last year, about $40 million. The company has grown quietly across the U.S. and abroad, and its smaller size helps the startup avoid much of the regulatory scrutiny that plagues Airbnb.

To contact the reporter on this story: Olivia Zaleski in San Francisco at ozaleski@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at mmilian@bloomberg.net Jillian Ward

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