VC-Backed Love Home Swap Completes 1stHomeExchange Acquisition

International holiday home exchange website Love Home Swap, Inc. has completed the acquisition of the website of its Canadian competitor 1stHomeExchange, Inc. Love Home Swap closed a follow-on financing round of £800,000 (US$1.3 million) in November, 2012 led by British venture capital firm MMC Ventures.


Love Home Swap, the international holiday home exchange website founded by serial entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow, has announced today that it has completed the acquisition of competitor site 1stHomeExchange.

The deal triples the size of the Love Home Swap portfolio to 35,000 properties listed in more than 150 countries worldwide and sets the site firmly on course to be market leader by the second quarter of this year.

Love Home Swap is currently reviewing a number of further acquisitions as part of its strategy to drive global scale ahead of a further round of fundraising in Autumn 2013.

Love Home Swap also revealed today that it has launched a French language version of its service to capitalise on the demand for the world’s most requested swap destination.

The business announced in November 2012 that it had closed a follow-on round of £800,000 led by MMC Ventures to help Love Home Swap expand internationally.

Love Home Swap launched in 2011 to provide members with the opportunity to swap their homes with other stylish residences around the world – enabling people to holiday like a local by staying in inspiring homes worldwide for free.

Whether a Miami penthouse for a long weekend, a Verbier ski chalet for a fortnight, or a Sri Lankan beach retreat for a month, Love Home Swap allows holidaymakers to enjoy unique travel experiences in homes as nice as their own – and save thousands on accommodation costs.

In December 2012, Love Home Swap brought to market in partnership with insurance experts Hiscox a bespoke Home Swap insurance product for its members – a global first for the home exchange sector.

New statistics from OnePoll show that more than twice as many people home swapped in 2012 vs 2011 – a rise from 1.6 million to over 3.3 million in the UK alone. The boom in Social Travel has been a major part of this trend, with the OnePoll research also finding that for the first time more people holidayed in non-hotel accommodation in 2012 than in hotels (55%).

Debbie Wosskow, CEO, Love Home Swap, said, “We’re excited to bring 1stHomeExchange into the Love Home Swap portfolio. 1stHomeExchange were one of the world’s biggest home exchange sites, with particularly strong coverage in Continental Europe and North America. The deal will allow us to accelerate the growth of the Love Home Swap business and offer the widest range of stylish homes and locations for our members to swap with around the world. We’ve had a strong start to 2013, as holidaymakers wake up to the benefits of home swapping. This deal will provide the ideal platform for Love Home Swap to dominate the home exchange market internationally.”

Editors’ Notes
Love Home Swap is the stylish home swap holiday service, with 35,000 inspiring properties listed in over 150 countries worldwide – from London lofts to Swiss ski chalets, Californian condos to Balinese beach retreats. Members save an average of £2,202 per home swap. Following an initial trial membership, Love Home Swap costs only £99 a year for standard membership for an unlimited number of swaps throughout the year. Or £199 a year for Luxe membership that includes access to a dedicated Swap-finding team and 5-star Concierge when you travel.

Founded in 2000, MMC Ventures is an active investor and award-winning venture fund manager, focused on technology-enabled sectors where the UK is a world leader – particularly financial and business services, business software, digital media and e-commerce. Having raised a total of approx £100 million, MMC invests around £10 million per annum, in a combination of new investments and add-on capital for existing portfolio companies. MMC specialises in fast-growth early-stage UK-based businesses, partnering with entrepreneurs and impressive management teams to achieve substantial scale and profitability. MMC’s existing portfolio includes AlexandAlexa, Base79, Interactive Investor, Knowledge Mill, Love Home Swap and Reevoo.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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