Top start-up HundredRooms on the rocks?

16 Oct 2017

HundredRooms.com, a Spanish aggregator that searches vacation rental sites like AirBnB and HomeAway, has laid off half its team and is in danger of closing down, according to a report in national newspaper El Confidencial. Just weeks ago, business magazine Actualidad Económica named it one of the “start-ups with the brightest future” in its Best Start-ups in Spain Awards.

Founded in 2014 by Jose Luis Martinez Rodriguez (LinkedIn), a former MD at travel companies EDreams and Kayak, HundredRooms positioned itself as “the search engine to end all vacation searches”.

It includes listings in Spain, France, Germany, the U.K., Italy, and Mexico, allowing users to search nearly seven million rentals worldwide. Property owners are encouraged to click through to partner sites like Booking.com, HomeAway and AirBnB, to list their homes.

El Confidencial cites “internal sources” who said HundredRooms dismantled its Madrid headquarters this summer and is operating solely out of its Palma de Mallorca office. Half its staff of 60 have been retrenched as a cost-cutting measure, and the company is on the edge of a cash crisis, the article said.

If this is the case, some of Spain’s large investment funds stand to lose. HundredRooms closed a 4-million ($4.7 million U.S.) funding round in March 2017. The round was led by Seaya Ventures, with investment from Bankinter, Inveready Technology Investment Group, Media Digital Ventures and Atresmedia — all major Spanish firms.

Previous funding including a 4.1-million round in May 2016, from Media Digital Ventures, Seaya Ventures, and Bankinter. HundredRooms took 1 million in seed capital from Inveready, Media Digital Ventures and Bankinter. (All figures from Crunchbase).

El Confidencial does not explain what happened to the funds, suggesting they were spent on unsuccessful marketing efforts. Nor does it offer anything but anonymous quotes as evidence that HundredRooms is in financial difficulties.

HundredRooms COO Jorge Cuneo Fokkelman told the AIM Group the company would release a statement in the next few days.

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Cila Warncke

Cila joined AIM Group in 2014 as writer/analyst for Spain. An Anglo-American living in Ibiza, she brings extensive international writing and consulting experience to the role. Educated at University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Glasgow University (MLitt), she has worked for wide range of consumer and B2B publications and companies in Europe and the USA, writing on topics ranging from marketing to travel to music to ultra-marathoning. She uses her writing, research and analytical skills to help clients tell their stories, grow their business, reach new audiences, build loyalty and exploit new media channels. Cila is also an award-winning essayist, creative writer and founder of Creative Writing Ibiza.