15. January 2014–
We're only two weeks into 2014, but this year is already proving to be significant for the Berlin startup scene. After Delivery Hero's mega funding round, Plista's acquisition and the Startup Institute launching, today comes the next big news: Berlin-based last-minute booking service JustBook has been acquired by British luxury hotel platform Secret Escapes.
According to German magazine WiWo, Secret Escapes has bought 100 per cent of the shares – though neither party would disclose the terms of the deal. All JustBook staff will be integrated into Secret Escapes, as will the three founders – Stefan Menden, Sebastian Fallert and Ognjen Zeric. Menden told WiWo that it's likely the JustBook brand will be shut down in the future.
Launched in January 2012 as a portal offering travellers same-day hotel bookings at discounted rates, late last year JustBook expanded its services to also allow bookings in advance. Already well-established in Europe, in 2013 it made its first foray into the US – bringing the number of countries it is active in up to 25.
Based in London, Secret Escapes provides flash sales for luxury hotels – members of the portal can get up to 70 per cent off their stay. It claims it has five million members, including 200,000 in Germany.
The deal makes sense for both parties, Menden told WiWo. While Secret Escapes has an impressive reach, JustBook's strength lies in its mobile app – an area that the British company has room to improve in.
British VC Index Ventures was an investor in both companies, JustBook was also financed by DN Capital, Venista Ventures, RI Digital Ventures and Venture Stars.
Image credit – flickr user Kevin Dooley