Real estate and housing has a new unicorn, as Vacasa, which bills itself as the “largest vacation rental company” in North America, is now valued at more than $1 billion.
Vacasa announced this week that it completed a $319 million Series C funding round, which valued the company at over $1 billion. That valuation puts the company into unicorn status, a term for privately held startups that are valued at more than $1 billion.
Private equity firm Silver Lake led the $319 million funding round, with participation by existing investors Riverwood Capital, Level Equity, and NewSpring.
Silver Lake is no stranger to hefty investments in the housing and real estate world.
Last year, the firm acquired a “significant minority stake” in Credit Karma, the personal finance company, in exchange for agreeing to invest $500 million in Credit Karma in a deal that valued the company at $4 billion.
And the year before that, Silver Lake led a $500 million round of funding online lender SoFi.
Now, the firm is leading the way in investing in Vacasa, which provides “end-to-end vacation rental property management solutions to homeowners across the globe.”
The company currently manages more than 23,000 vacation homes, a portfolio that has increased by more than 12,000 homes in the last year.
Just over a year go, Vacasa raised $64 million in a funding round, stating that the time that its portfolio had 10,600 vacation rental properties in 23 U.S. states and 16 countries within Europe, South and Central America, and Africa.
And now, the company’s portfolio is double that, with no plans of slowing down.
According to the company, it will use the new funding to “further enhance its industry-leading technology platform, accelerate expansion into new markets and grow new offerings.”
The company states that those new offerings include Vacasa Real Estate, which has “evolved from an agent network into a robust service model that includes brokerages in key vacation rental markets throughout the country.”
And according to Vacasa Founder and CEO Eric Breon, the company is seeing an increasing market opportunity in vacation homebuyers who want to rent out their property.
“The opportunity that lies ahead of us is enormous, on both the property management and real estate side of the business,” Breon said.
“We’re seeing an increased number of buyers looking to purchase vacation homes as an investment, with the intent to rent the property,” Breon added. “We’re uniquely positioned to assist our homeowners through the entire lifecycle of their vacation home and are dedicated to continued advancement of our technology to meet the needs of our customers.”
And the opportunity that exists in the vacation rental market is what drew Silver Lake in.
“Vacasa has spent the past decade bringing innovation to the $100 billion global vacation rental industry,” said Joerg Adams, managing director at Silver Lake. “We believe Vacasa, with its differentiated technology platform that’s already the market leader in North America, has the potential to become a global brand that stands for superior financial returns for homeowners and exceptional experiences for guests.”
The company has seen substantial growth in the last few years, as Ben Levin, founder and partner of Level Equity, said that the company’s revenue has grown “almost seven-fold” since the firm’s initial investment in Vacasa nearly four years ago.
Levin also said they expect Vacasa’s growth to accelerate in 2020.
Jeff Parks, co-founder and managing partner of Riverwood Capital, agreed.
“It is exceptionally rare to see this type of growth, and rarer still at this scale,” Parks said. “As the market leader, Vacasa is distinguishing itself as the standard for quality and innovation in an industry with tremendous opportunity that is being fundamentally reshaped by technology.”