A blast of the good old days

HomeAway, an online holiday rental portal, has just raised a quarter of a billion dollars in a VC funding round, the biggest of its kind for an internet company in eight years, according to Chris Nuttall in the Financial Times' tech blog.

Perhaps HomeAway is a special case‾ It was founded in 2005 to consolidate the fragmented holiday rental market. It charges around US$300 a year for advertising holiday properties and looks to have succeeded pretty well.

The FT piece quotes Brian Sharples, chief executive of HomeAway saying, "We will do just under US$100m in sales this year, we're cash flow positive and quite profitable, 40% of our revenue comes from outside the US and it's a fairly predictable subscription-based business."

He also points to research that the market is worth an estimated US$48bn in the US, UK, Germany and France combined and says more owners of second homes are likely to want to rent them out in a recession.

This round of funding came from Redpoint, Institutional Venture Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV). They evidently expect HomeAway eventually to be in the same league as another TCV investment, Expedia, which has a market capitalisation of US$2.4 billion and forecast revenues this year of US$3 billion.

It's cheering to note that despite very tough times, VCs are still willing to put money up if the proposition is good enough.