Denver-based vacation rental management company Evolve Vacation Rental Network announced a whopping $80 million in fresh funding this morning, bringing its total funding to $103 million.
The round, which officially closed in June, was led by asset management firm T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. Winslow Capital Management, Foxhaven Asset Management and Denver-based Arrowmark Partners, as well as existing investors Annox Capital, Allen & Company LLC and PAR Capital Ventures, also participated in the round.
Unlike other players in the vacation rental space, Evolve focuses heavily on supporting second homeowners and providing them with the tools and services to build trustworthy and successful short-term rental businesses. In turn, travelers can avoid some of the pitfalls of consumer-focused models and have more professional and reliable experiences.
Being able to act as an engine for professionalization in the industry is an idea that investors have come around to — not just believing in, but really wanting to support and invest in.”
“Our investors see the professionalization of vacation rental as a huge trend,” said CEO and co-founder Brian Egan. “When we launched the company back in 2011, investors were largely uninterested in a tech-enabled services solution for vacation rental management. They wanted to talk about Airbnb, marketplaces, the consumer web.”
As the vacation rental industry has matured, more and more travelers have started turning to short-term home rentals in lieu of hotels or resorts. But what's missing, according to Egan, is a solution that addresses the need for quality control on the supply side — and that means supporting homeowners in the ability to deliver high-quality services.
“Being able to act as an engine for professionalization in the industry is an idea that investors have come around to — not just believing in, but really wanting to support and invest in,” he said.
The investment comes at a time when Evolve is experiencing more than double year-over-year growth, and the funding will help the company keep pace.
According to Egan, the company plans to add about 50 new employees by the end of this year, adding roles across the entire company and making some key leadership hires to help move the business through its next phase of development. To accommodate that growth, Evolve will take over a third floor in its office building at 717 17th Ave by the end of this year.
With an expanded team and office, Evolve will be positioned to further accelerate its current growth pace. It plans to focus on providing better customer experiences, adding new functionality to the platform and potentially expanding the product itself.
“Our vision for Evolve is a global platform for management services for short-term rentals,” Egan said. “We want to be able to offer owners of these homes all the different tools and services that they need in order to be more successful. In turn, that allows us to serve travelers who are renting their homes and, ultimately, become the most recognized supplier brand in the category.”