HomeAway's acquisition of Dwellable looks like a classic employee grab to help with development of HomeAway's own apps. And having funding participation from a HomeAway board member at the time never hurts in getting the big company's attention.
High valuations have certainly slowed merger and acquisition activity in the vacation rental market in the last couple of years. As evidence of that trend, HomeAway announced a modest acquisition of Dwellable, which had raised $2 million in seed funding.
[Update: HomeAway revealed November 6 that it acquired Dwellable on October 1 for $18 million in cash.]
HomeAway said it will leverage the Dwellable team and mobile app technology while shuttering Dwellable’s vacation rental app and website. Dwellable offered vacation rental listings from property managers as well as third parties including FlipKey.
Asked whether the acquisition of Dwellable was a talent acquisition, Tom Hale, HomeAways’s chief operating officer, told Skift: “Dwellable created search functionality and a mobile experience that is truly unique, with features such as swiping left or right to curate a list of vacation rentals. The app is loved by travelers, and has better ratings in the app store than anyone in the industry.”
“As we work to improve the HomeAway traveler experience and focus on mobile conversion, we think Dwellable’s technology will be very useful. Likewise, it was built by a very talented team that we’re excited to have join us at HomeAway.”
Prior to Dwellable, HomeAway had made about 20 acquistions over the last decade.
HomeAway’s most recent acquisition before Dwellable was for the Glad to Have You app for $16.8 million in March 2014. In the interim, HomeAway invested in Gogobot, a social travel platform.
Version One Ventures and Maveron led Dwellable’s $2 million seed round in 2014 with participation from then-HomeAway board member Rob Solomon, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, and Farecast founder Oren Etzioni.
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Photo credit: HomeAway acquired Dwellable and its app will be shut down. Dwellable