9. February 2015–
As announced on Friday, Nestpick, the accommodation platform for students supported by Rocket Internet, launches in Germany. Until now, that was Berlin-based Wunderflats’ market. Here is how the current situation looks like.
Wunderflats was founded by Benedikt Scholz (26, founder & CEO), Jan Hase (24, co-founder, responsible for product and IT), and Arkadi Jampolski (22, co-founder, responsible for marketing and operations). Students can find accommodations for their stay aboard, so-called mid-term rentals. Until now, the German rental market offered mostly short-term (Airbnb) and long-term (immobilienscout, wg-gesucht,...) accommodations.
After participating in the Microsoft Accelerator in 2014, the team raised €100,000 from Hasso Plattner Ventures, developed its first version, launched, got its first users and started working with partners (like the university in Münster). The plan is to focus on university partnerships to get the word out there.
“We started with some typical student towns like Oestrich-Winkel and Münster. Then we fostered and grew our university network here before moving on to cities abroad. This month we launched the first international locations on Wunderflats,” Scholz stated towards VentureVillage a few weeks ago. Looking at the website today, Geisenheim, Wiesbaden, Seville, Lisbon, and Granada were added as cities where Wunderflats operates.
“We have our milestones and our roadmap how to grow. We don’t see a reason to change that,” Scholz said today after finding out that Rocket Internet’s Nestpick entered the German market. For sure, giving up is not the answer.
However, the Rocket investment was probably larger than the financing Wunderflat received. And so far, Nestpick lists 18 cities for booking accommodations, though Marseille and Seville have not listed one available space. Wunderflats offers flats in seven cities.
Price matters – Nestpick’s low fees bring advantage
Besides the number of available cities and spaces, Nestpick and Wunderflats differ only in small details like the business model. While peer-to-peer landlords can list their space for free, professional landlords get charged a booking fee on Wunderflats. Nestpick, however, offers a free solution for professional landlords as well.
Just recently Nestpick dropped its booking fee for students from 50% to 25% for the first one month’s rent. Wunderflats' fee is at 30%.
While startups like Airbnb and Wimdu show that Rocket Internet companies don’t always get the bigger piece of the cake, its worth mentioning that Airbnb received a $112 million series B funding when entering the German market. Wimdu raised a $90 million series A funding round.
Competition is always good for a market. However, with Facebook groups, platforms like Airbnb and entirely free flat sharing portals, it has yet to be seen if mid-term rentals will find their way into the very price sensitive student world.