Brian Sharples_ co-founder and CEO of HomeAway “HomeAway is

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Brian Sharples_ co-founder and CEO of HomeAway “HomeAway is Powered By Docstoc
					Brian Sharples, co-founder and CEO of HomeAway

“HomeAway is building the world’s largest and most complete marketplace for vacation rental
properties. Because Germany represents one of the world’s largest and most active travel markets, it
was one of the first places we looked to expand outside of the United States. We considered opening
our own site in Germany, but quickly realized the importance of having local knowledge and expertise
to build a successful business. VVI was the leading company in the market, and had also required that
its staff speak English in addition to German. This made it a perfect fit for our company and FeWo has
continued to grow rapidly as part of HomeAway.”




HomeAway Inc., Austin, TX, acquired Vacation Villas International “VVI” (now FeWo-direkt.de), of Kassel
Germany in December 2005. The decision for this investment was to combine VVI’s flagship site, www.FeWo-
direkt.de, the leading provider of online vacation rentals in the German market with www.holiday-rentals.com,
the premier holiday rental site in the UK, to create the largest online database of vacation rental properties in
Europe. As the worldwide leader of online vacation rentals, the company represents nearly 425,000 vacation
rental home listings across more than 120 countries on its sites: HomeAway.com, VRBO.com,
VacationRentals.com, Holiday-Rentals.co.uk, OwnersDirect.co.uk, FeWo-direkt.de, Abritel.fr and
Homelidays.com. Offices include Frankfurt and Kassel, Germany; London and Ashtead, England; and Paris
and Marseille, France.

Business Requirements
Prior to being acquired by HomeAway Inc., FeWo-direkt.de (formerly VVI) was founded in 1997, in Berlin, by
Kirsten Führer and her husband, Carsten Möller. By the end of the year, the company had 4 employees and
possessed an inventory of 100 properties. As the business continued to grow, FeWo-direkt.de’s founders
began exploring business locations in Germany that provide support for their small to medium size businesses
in states with pro-business policies.

Solution
In 2001, FeWo-direkt.de relocated to the state of Hessen in the city of Kassel because the cost structure was
one of the lowest in Germany and the company received substantial government subsidies from the state of
Hessen. They were also awarded a government grant from the Investment Bank Hesse (IBH) in 2001, in which
the government compensated 28% of all investments including software, hardware and furniture. In addition to
the government subsidies, they also relied heavily on the population of university students in Kassel, often
employing several students on a part-time basis to develop the business.

Today, HomeAway employs 35 staff members in its German offices - 28 in Kassel and seven in Frankfurt and
now lists nearly 185,000 vacation rentals on FeWo-Direkt.de. The Frankfurt Office was established in 2008.

www.homeaway.com




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