This post has been updated after we were corrected by a representative from Fast Lane’s PR that RentHome.ru is more similar to the business model of HomeAway.com than Airbnb, as originally reported.
Fast Lane Ventures, a Moscow based early stage venture capital firm, recently announced it has invested in RentHome.ru, a service that operates and looks nearly identical to HomeAway.com, down to the same colors, layout, and background. Through RentHome.ru, property owners can list their properties for short term rentals, allowing people to make a little more money off that apartment they’re holding on to, and provides travelers a more unique experience than staying in the same generic hotel room found all across the world. The size of the funding round was not announced.
To provide a higher level of service, the company provides a Customer Service Department that acts as a go-between between the landlords and customers, and offers a higher level of service. So far, RentHome.ru offer 17,000 across Russia, and is shooting for 5,000 properties in Europe by the end of the first quarter this year. In comparison, Airbnb only offers 600 properties when searching Russia, and 31,000 in the United States, and HomeAway offers 100,000 in the U.S., 10 in Russia, and 260,000 worldwide.
According to the Russian Union of Travel Industry, in 2011 the average price of 2-3 star hotel rooms was 2,500 rubles per night, and 4-5 star hotels averaged 7,300 rubles. Furthermore, according to the statistics, there are only 4.5 hotel beds per 1,000 people who live in Russia and in Europe that number is between 13 to 35 beds per 1,000 people. On RentHome.ru, the average price of a one-bedroom apartment is 2,000 rubles a day.
While it’s not the most unique service, it will be one to watch as evidenced by its fast growth.