HomeAway raises $250m venture round

The online marketplace for holiday home rentals has attracted a record financing round from investors amid a difficult funding environment. Austin Ventures and Redpoint Ventures seeded HomeAway in 2005.

Online holiday rental marketplace HomeAway has raised $250 million in fresh equity, successfully completing its largest financing round to date amid a capital-scarce climate afflicting much of the venture world.

Silicon Valley-based Technology Crossover Ventures led the financing round, with return investors Institutional Venture Partners and Redpoint Ventures.

HomeAway will use the latest financing round to fund additional strategic investments, eliminate all of its debt and expand its marketing and promotional activities.

The Austin, Texas-based company also will introduce a share repurchase program for certain shareholders including tenured employees, according to a statement from the company.

HomeAway provides a detailed listing of homes, apartments and condominiums available for short-term vacation rentals. Users of the website can currently browse listings in South America, Europe, Central America, The Caribbean, Mexico, Canada and the US.

Texas-based Austin Ventures and Silicon Valley-based Redpoint Ventures seeded HomeAway with $49 million in 2005, building a platform through the acquisitions of similar websites CyberRentals in the US, Holiday-Rentals in the UK and FeWo-direkt in Germany.

The following year, later-stage specialist Institutional Investor Partners and Trident Capital led a $160 million financing round that funded the company’s purchase of VRBI, another US rent-by-owner website.  

HomeAway currently owns 11 vacation rental sits in its portfolio, as well as EscapeHomes, which connects buyers and sellers of second homes and resort real estate.