Last minute hotel reservations startup VeryLastRoom has raised €1.5 Million from A Plus Finance, SIGMA & Extend AM, the startup announced this week. Launched in June of 2012, VeryLastRoom previously raised 400K€ from business angels, looking to provide its service in ‘every town in France’ – which they may very well have accomplished. The startup currently counts over 1200 hotels in France, Belgium & Spain – it launched in the latter two markets in the last year.
VeryLastRoom’s largest competitor – HotelTonight – has also been expanding aggressively across Europe – however, it would seem that, with an expected 1,000,000 downloads by the end of 2014, VeryLastRoom has managed to maintain its market share in France, and has even shown promise internationally. With the fresh round of funding, co-founder & CEO Nicolas Salin says he plans to grow the team to 20 people, focusing on its marketing & product development efforts.
In the past, I’ve been skeptical of VeryLastRoom’s ability to differentiate itself – I see last minute hotel booking as a market similar to smartphone chauffeur services like Uber, in that the international network effect is strong for travelers, making it easy to bolster position in one market while being a loss-leader in another.
It would seem that VeryLastRoom is going to put up a good fight against HotelTonight – I wouldn’t be surprised to see a defensive acquisition in the near future – and I for one am happy to eat my words on this occasion.
Of course, VeryLastRoom’s product has a nice unique feature – prices on hotels drop €.01 every second – which may actually have more of a ‘flash sales’ effect on users than HotelTonight’s “we show you some rooms” policy.
Only time will tell.