Exclusive – TechCrunch has just learned that Wimdu, a recently launched Airbnb clone that has already managed to irk the latter, has raised a whopping $90 million round.
The capital injection comes from European investors Kinnevik and the infamous Samwer brothers’ Rocket Internet.
These investors are no strangers to the cloning of successful tech companies (they sold Groupon-inspired City Deal to Groupon, and started a Zappos clone called Zalando).
(Kinnevik also recently invested in a Russion Zappos clone dubbed Sapato. ru)
Notably, Airbnb is also raising a huge round of funding ($100 million or more) at a staggering $1 billion valuation, so you might say Wimdu isn’t just copying their idea and business model but also their financing strategy.
Seriously, though, if you’re somewhat familiar with Airbnb, you’ll have an easy job learning what Wimdu is: a community-driven marketplace for private spaces. The startup says it currently lists 10,000 apartments in over 150 cities around the world, in less than 100 days.
Already, its team has grown to 400 employees, working from 15 offices worldwide.
Wimdu is not the only Airbnb clone. There’s also 9flats, which recently raised capital from Silicon Valley investor Redpoint Ventures and was founded by German entrepreneur (and founder of Yelp clone Qype) Stephan Uhrenbacher.
Another German clone, Accoleo, was actually acquired by Airbnb just two weeks ago.
As we reported last week, Airbnb recently sent out an email to its 100,000+ hosts, warning them for ‘impostor websites’ like the above-mentioned clones, who they refer to as ‘scam artists’. From our previous article:
Why is Wimdu and its Chinese subsidiary such a threat? Well Wimdu and Airizu were created by the German Samwer brothers, prior Facebook investors whose modus operandi is creating European clones of popular American Internet services. The Samwers most profitably sold their eBay clone Alando. de to eBay in 1999 and their Groupon clone CityDeal to Groupon itself for around €100 million in 2010.
The Airbnb email does everything but call out the Samwer brothers by name for their questionable cut and paste innovation tactics, “these scam artists have a history of copying a website, aggressively poaching from their community, then attempting to sell the company back to the original” and “they claim that they are part of Ebay and/or Groupon.”