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Wimdu GmbH
Privately held company (GmbH)
Industry Tourism
Founded March 2011; 7 years ago (2011-03)
Headquarters Berlin, Germany
Area served
Services hospitality service
Owners Novasol
Number of employees
150 (2018)
Website wimdu.com
Footnotes / references
Company Register

Wimdu is an online marketplace and hospitality service, enabling people to lease or rent short-term lodging including vacation rentals, apartment rentals, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms. The company does not own any lodging; it is merely a broker and receives commissions in conjunction with every booking.[1][2][3] Platinum Wimdu offers more than 350,000 property listings in more than 150 countries. It is owned by Wimdu GmbH, which is owned by Novasol, a subsidiary of Platinum Equity. [4]

Wimdu is available in 15 languages, including English, German, Dutch, Spanish, French and Italian.

How it works[edit]

Users of the Wimdu website must register a personal online identity, with a valid email address. Alternatively, Wimdu users can log in with an existing Facebook account. Profiles include reviews to build reputation and trust between users of the online marketplace.[5] Wimdu receives a commission of 3% from the host and 12% from the guest. Wimdu supports different payment methods, including credit card, direct debit and wire transfer. For security purposes, all payments are retained for 24 hours after check-in, so that guests can check their accommodation for problems.[6] In addition to the website, there are mobile apps for iOS devices,[7] although Android is currently not supported.


Wimdu was registered as a limited company (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, GmbH) in March 2011.[8] Arne Bleckwenn and Hinrich Dreiling, the founders of Wimdu, founded and managed several other startups before.[9][10] Shortly after Wimdu launched, the company received $90 million in funding from Kinnevik and Rocket Internet.[11] At the time, this was the largest investment in a European startup ever.[12] WirtschaftsWoche rated Wimdu among the most important startups of 2011.[13] Online for less than 100 days, Wimdu already offered 10,000 properties worldwide. Because the Chinese market is different, Wimdu started a spin-off business there called Airizu.[14] Shortly after the launch of Wimdu, Airbnb publicity criticized the business model.[15] Nevertheless, Airbnb considered acquiring Wimdu,[16] but finally decided against it.[17][18]

By 2012, Wimdu claimed to be the biggest social accommodation website from Europe.[19] After the first year in business, Wimdu gained booking revenues of $6.6 million per month and expected more than $100 million for the whole year 2012.[20][21] Later that year, the company fundamentally changed its growth strategy: Activities of international offices were reduced, some employees moved back to the Berlin headquarters.[22] The media reported that the restructuring was due to rising costs incurred by rapid growth.[23] 2013, Wimdu closed its China subsidiary Airizu, now doing business there under their main brand.[24] When it comes to Germany in particular, peer-to-peer property rental companies faced new regulatory requirements beginning in 2013.[25][26] While competitors like 9flats left Berlin,[27] Wimdu continued its operations there.[28]

By June 2013, Wimdu offered 100,000 accommodations in 150 countries.[29] The same year, media reported that Rocket Internet wanted at moments to sell Wimdu.[30][31] In October 2014, the founders Arne Bleckwenn and Hinrich Dreiling left Wimdu at their own request.[32] The management was handed over to Arne Kahlke und Sören Kress,[33] Bleckwenn and Dreiling took a position in the advisory board.[34] Wimdu further expanded its activities at the Berlin headquarters.[35] From 2013 to 2014, Wimdu increased the number of bookings by 31%.[36] 2015, Mediaset and Wimdu signed a media for equity deal.[37] The Italian media conglomerate invested million euros in the Berlin company, which received advertising on the Mediaset TV channels in return.[38] In the following months, Wimdu expanded in Italy, Spain and other Southern European countries.[39] The Mediaset-deal was significant for this.[40][41]

The city of Berlin adopted a law that restricts private apartment rentals.[42][43] This was primarily due to the housing shortage.[44] In April 2016, Wimdu filed a lawsuit against the law, which received a lot of public attention.[45][46] The company argued that the law illegally restricts the fundamental rights of hosts.[47] Author of the lawsuit is Helge Sodan, former president of the constitutional court of Berlin.[48] Although the lawsuit will likely be successful,[49] the Senate of Berlin continues to uphold the law.[50] A decision is expected for mid-2016.

In October 2016, the company announced a merger with 9flats.[51][52]

However, in December 2016, the company was sold to Danish company Novasol.[53]

Investment AB Kinnevik and Rocket Internet have invested in the company.[54]


Rocket Internet, which is headed up by the Samwer brothers and invested heavily in Wimdu, is renowned for its aggressive entrepreneurship and leadership style.[55][56][57] Wimdu has been accused several times of being a clone of Airbnb,[58][59] as their business-model and website design is remarkably similar.[60] In response, representatives of the company stated that although the concept may seem similar, Wimdu has a unique approach,[61] treating "different countries, different cultures, in different ways".[62] Wimdu offers a "hotel light" experience in a market where Airbnb has the "first mover advantage".[63] Both Airbnb and Wimdu have been in a fierce competition, especially in German-speaking Europe.[64]

In January 2016, Wimdu was accused of leaving their hosts alone to deal with vandalism: Die Zeit, Stern reported that Wimdu refused to compensate a Berlin apartment that had been destroyed, beyond offering a dedicated "insurance" for such damages.[65][66] Wimdu denied the allegations and pointed out that the host had demanded an "excessive refund" in this case.[67] Die Zeit took on the position of Wimdu and invited experts to check their standard form contract, which was deemed to be unsatisfactory for many cases discussed before.[68]

May 30th 2016 a dutch TV program (Groeten van Max) showed a B&B being duped - as their images were used by someone else. As they informed Wimdu about it, Wimdu ignored the problem - allowing others to be duped by a fake room/apartment being advertised, plus damaging the reputation of the original B&B. When confronted by representatives of Groeten van Maxat at their head office, they refused to comment and expelled them. [69]

In April 2018, the city of Paris files a lawsuit against Wimdu and its competitor AirBnB for violating local laws. Flats and houses without specific registration numbers had been illegally listed. [70]


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External links[edit]