Real estate’s newest unicorn: Vacasa raises $319 million, now valued at more than $1 billion

Real estate and
housing has a new unicorn, as Vacasa, which bills itself as the “largest
vacation rental company” in North America, is now valued at more than $1
billion.

Vacasa announced
this week that it completed a $319 million Series C funding round, which valued
the company at over $1 billion. That valuation puts the company into unicorn
status, a term for privately held startups that are valued at more than $1
billion.

Private equity firm Silver
Lake
led the $319 million funding round, with participation by existing
investors Riverwood Capital, Level Equity, and NewSpring.

Silver Lake is no stranger
to hefty investments in the housing and real estate world.

Last year, the firm acquired a “significant minority stake” in Credit Karma, the personal finance company, in exchange for agreeing to invest $500 million in Credit Karma in a deal that valued the company at $4 billion.

And the year before that, Silver Lake led a $500 million round of funding online lender SoFi.

Now, the firm is
leading the way in investing in Vacasa, which provides “end-to-end vacation
rental property management solutions to homeowners across the globe.”

The company
currently manages more than 23,000 vacation homes, a portfolio that has
increased by more than 12,000 homes in the last year.

Just over a year go, Vacasa raised $64 million in a funding round, stating that the time that its portfolio had 10,600 vacation rental properties in 23 U.S. states and 16 countries within Europe, South and Central America, and Africa.

And now, the
company’s portfolio is double that, with no plans of slowing down.

According to the company, it will use the new funding to “further enhance its industry-leading technology platform, accelerate expansion into new markets and grow new offerings.”

The company states that those new offerings include Vacasa Real Estate, which has “evolved from an agent network into a robust service model that includes brokerages in key vacation rental markets throughout the country.”

And according to Vacasa Founder and CEO Eric Breon, the company is seeing an increasing market opportunity in vacation homebuyers who want to rent out their property.

“The opportunity
that lies ahead of us is enormous, on both the property management and real
estate side of the business,” Breon said.

“We’re seeing an
increased number of buyers looking to purchase vacation homes as an investment,
with the intent to rent the property,” Breon added. “We’re uniquely positioned
to assist our homeowners through the entire lifecycle of their vacation home
and are dedicated to continued advancement of our technology to meet the needs
of our customers.”

And the opportunity
that exists in the vacation rental market is what drew Silver Lake in.

“Vacasa has spent
the past decade bringing innovation to the $100 billion global vacation rental
industry,” said Joerg Adams, managing director at Silver Lake. “We believe
Vacasa, with its differentiated technology platform that’s already the market
leader in North America, has the potential to become a global brand that stands
for superior financial returns for homeowners and exceptional experiences for
guests.”

The company has seen
substantial growth in the last few years, as Ben Levin, founder and partner of
Level Equity, said that the company’s revenue has grown “almost seven-fold” since
the firm’s initial investment in Vacasa nearly four years ago.

Levin also said they
expect Vacasa’s growth to accelerate in 2020.

Jeff Parks,
co-founder and managing partner of Riverwood Capital, agreed.

“It is exceptionally
rare to see this type of growth, and rarer still at this scale,” Parks said. “As
the market leader, Vacasa is distinguishing itself as the standard for quality
and innovation in an industry with tremendous opportunity that is being
fundamentally reshaped by technology.”

The post Real estate’s newest unicorn: Vacasa raises $319 million, now valued at more than $1 billion appeared first on HousingWire.

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