“Everything started in the summer of 2013, when we wanted to go on a trip to Portugal and encountered difficulties finding a suitable holiday apartment because there were simply too many options,” Johannes Siebers explained during the KIT Entrepreneurship Talk on 11 February 2016. Together with his brother, Michael Siebers, he founded Holidu GmbH a year later – a platform for searching and comparing holiday homes in Europe.
Thanks to support from investors – some of them high-profile – such as the former CEO of booking.com, Kees Koolen, the start-up grew considerably over the course of two years. “We were able to establish a rather extensive network in the industry within a relatively short time, which is why many investors approached us directly. They were enthusiastic about our idea. In addition to their financial support, their expert knowledge has been extremely valuable.” Today, 30 employees are managing the marketing and development of the online platform, which allows tourists and travellers to choose the cheapest accommodation out of more than three million offers.
The young entrepreneurs faced several technical challenges, including vast quantities of data and certain issues with the consolidation of this data. “Unlike flights, holiday homes are not assigned a unique ID. At the same time, they are featured in many different directories. We use GPS data and a special algorithm that scans images for similarities in order to consolidate and compare results from different websites,” Michael Siebers explains.
Johannes Siebers advises future entrepreneurs to appreciate the significance of company culture in addition to the core business. “You can only find good employees if your product and working atmosphere are right. We all work hard and try to improve constantly, but there needs to be space for fun.”
You can find out more about Holidu and their experiences in our section “Entrepreneur of the month”, where we showcased the company in January 2015.