To date, VaycayHero has raised approximately $4.8 million from angel investors and VCs, including a $836k investment from FundersClub just seven months ago.
In 2011, Zaranga was founded by Amitav Chakravartty and Anirban Bardalaye with the goal of providing a B2C marketplace that would connect guests with professionally managed, verified vacation rentals.
In 2012, Zaranga joined the Y-combinator class and began to develop the concept of dynamic pricing for professionally managed short term rentals. On Zaranga, like Priceline, guests could enter the price they were willing to pay for a vacation rental by clicking on the “Make an Offer” option. At the time, Bardlaye said, “There is no dynamic pricing in the vacation rental market, even though it is extremely common in the rest of the travel industry.”
However, the vacation rental marketplace was not yet ready for this type of functionality as the overall connectivity and communication between the listing sites and property managers was slow to develop and competition among listing sites was fierce. In addition, travelers were just beginning to discover vacation rentals for the first time, and marketplace usability was not yet normalized or trusted enough to introduce a “Make an Offer” process to consumers.
In 2013, Zaranga rebranded to VaycayHero as a more pure form of an OTA focused on online booking for professionally managed vacation rentals. They raised a $2.8 million seed round from Alexis Ohanian, Garry Tan, Scott Banister, Microventures, Tamarisc, Stucture Capital, and others. VaycayHero said it planned to use the capital to bring on more workers, expand into more markets, and continue growing the overall business.
In 2015, VacayHero raised an additional $550k and operated under a closed business model in which all listings were instantly online bookable only, and fees were collected from the traveler instead of the supplier.
VacayHero follows LeisureLink in shutting its doors, with a half dozen venture funded companies in the vacation rental industry expected to also suspend operations by the end of the year.