Love Home Swap acquires Dutch competitor HomeForExchange as it looks to dominate the home exchange market
Love Home Swap
Led by cofounder and CEO Debbie Wosskow, Love Home Swap charges homeowners from £12 to list their homes on its platform. In return, they are able to browse other properties and arrange home exchanges with Love Home Swap users worldwide.
Those willing to pay £40 a month can also get a dedicated "swap team," airport lounge passes, prominently featured listings, and verified accounts.
Love Home Swap, which now claims to be the biggest the home swapping platform in the world, didn't disclose the financials of the deal but Business Insider understands it's likely to be somewhere between £1 million and £5 million.
Wosskow - who is also the chair head of SEUK, the UK sharing economy trade body - said the deal is being funded with the help of a £7.5 million investment that Love Home Swap raised earlier this year from Wyndham Worldwide in the US, which owns Travelodge, Ramada and RCI, as well as several other hotel chains. Total investment in Love Home Swap stands at approximately £12 million since it was founded in 2011.
HomeForExchange, which looks comparatively retro, has been around for over 20 years and has 25,000 users, but over 15,000 of those paying members.
Describing the company's two cofounders, Wosskow said: "They're passionate home swappers that have built up a business over time. They've got an incredibly loyal community that's very European."
Wosskow said the Love Home Swap group as a whole now has access to close to 100,000 properties worldwide.
Love Home Swap
Wosskow added: "HomesForExchange is a lower price point than Love Home Swap with a different audience. They have practically no churn, just a very sort of solid community. They're also about half of where we are price wise."
Love Home Swap also acquired a French-Canadian company called 1stHomeExchange in 2013, and integrated the company with its own business.
But HomesForExchange will run as a separate brand, Wosskow said.
As many as 60 people work for Love Home Swap in London now and Wosskow wants to start building out the company in the US, where she's recently hired two people in New York.
Last week Business Insider took a closer look at the financials of companies operating in the sharing economy, highlighting how multibillion dollar businesses like Uber and Airbnb aren't actually making any money. Love Home Swap is in the same boat but it might not be for too long. "We're obviously not [profitable] because we just raised a lot of money," said Wosskow. "But on a unit by unit basis we are, should be, and always have been, because of the business model."