Vakast picks up $1.3 mln seed funds

Vakast said Thursday that it has secured $1.3 million in seed funding. The lead investors were Chinh Chu, senior managing director at Blackstone and Ken Pansuria, a founder of the Fine Hospitality Group. Nicky Nguyen, founder of NJ Enterprises, also participated in the round. Based in Newport Beach, Calif., Vakast is an online travel agency for vacation rentals.

PRESS RELEASE

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (July 31, 2014) — Vakast, an online travel agency for vacation rentals, announced today it has closed a $1.3 million seed funding round led by Blackstone Group senior managing director Chinh Chu and Ken Pansuria a founder of the Fine Hospitality Group, LLC. Nicky Nguyen, founder of NJ Enterprises Inc. also invested in the round.

The vacation rental market is a massive yet highly fragmented industry with consumers often searching for vacation rentals on a site-by-site basis. Vakast brings an Expedia-like experience to vacation renting, allowing consumers to search and book rentals, with access to the listings of 25 peer-to-peer and traditional vacation rental partners including HomeAway, Wimdu, Villas of Distinction and HouseTrip. The company also offers live customer service via email and phone, serving as an intermediary between homeowners and renters.

“Vakast is about customer convenience, and selection is a critical factor in customer convenience,” said Vakast CEO Huan Truong. “Today, Vakast offers 3.7 million rooms, more than the top five hotel chains on earth combined. By guaranteeing and offering the largest selection of rooms, travelers will have no need to visit other websites in their search for a perfect vacation rental.”

Vakast’s unique patent pending platform offers a quick-view grid that allows visitors to easily and effectively compare seasonal rates and the number of properties available within a 12-month timeframe. The search engine is complimented by an equally comprehensive customer service component, with U.S.-based phone and email for any questions or support in booking. Today’s investment will fund technology development, marketing and additional staff to support increased traffic. Vakast’s 1.5 million listings represent the largest online inventory of vacation rentals worldwide.

“The Vakast team has quietly created an extremely robust platform to provide travelers with a single source solution for reviewing and booking more than 1.5 million vacation rental properties around the globe,” said Ken Pansuria. “With the peer-to-peer vacation rental market expected to reach more than $175 billion by 2016, we believe Vakast is well positioned to capture a significant share of the space with its simple, powerful and easy to use offering.”

About Vakast
Vakast is an online travel agency based in Newport Beach, California with the world’s largest inventory of vacation rentals. With more than 1.5 million properties in 196 countries, Vakast helps travelers find and book their perfect vacation rental. Vakast is a privately held company, incorporated in April 2013. For information about Vakast, please visit http://www.vakast.com.

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