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Johannes Siebers is co-founder and CEO of Holidu, a search engine for holiday homes. Holydu was founded in 2014 by Johannes and his brother, technical director Michael Siebers. The Munich-based startup is now active in 21 countries, employs more than 200 people in over 40 countries and recently received an additional €5 million in Series C funding in addition to the €40 million.

Johannes Siebers has a degree in business administration and studied international business administration from 2004 to 2009 in Tübingen, Madrid and Sydney. After his studies, he worked for Siemens in Munich in the Risk Capital department. There he was able to oversee the successful development of several startups and see that anything is possible with good ideas and hard work. He integrated this enthusiasm into his own project – together with his brother Michael – of Holydu.

Holidu is a search and booking platform for holiday accommodation that allows you to find and book the ideal accommodation at the best price. They work with leading online travel agencies, regional travel agencies and local professionals to give you the wide selection you need to find the perfect vacation rental for your needs.

Their patented pattern recognition technology determines if the same location for sale can be found in multiple locations and always tells you the lowest price.

In an exclusive interview with John:

It’s thanks to a great team with a great team spirit. Even during the coronation crisis, when our company faced major challenges – from travel bans that affected our business to closures that forced our employees to work remotely – the team was well connected virtually. Everything has really been put in place to keep our business running.

Our passion is to put the customer first. Receiving positive feedback from customers, especially during a pandemic, was also very motivating and encouraged us to continue. We like to see that we really contribute to our clients’ holiday planning, and as passionate travellers we know how important that is.

Read on to find out more about Johannes Siebers and his journey.

Tell me about your personal experience and why you started your business.

Johannes Siebers: I studied international economics at the universities of Tübingen, Sydney and Madrid. After graduating, I started my career at Siemens in the Risk Capital department. The experience of observing the development and growth of various start-ups has certainly contributed to my strong desire to create and manage my own business.

As brothers and sisters, Michael and I have long cherished the idea of starting our own business. Michael – now the technical director with whom I co-founded Holidu – has a technical background that complements my venture capital experience very well.

What is your current core product and can you tell a previous story about your current core product?

Johannes Siebers: Our mission is this: So you can easily find and book your holiday home. There are so many places to rent in the market. Holidu collects and compares listings from over a thousand of these sites, giving our users access to over 15 million properties worldwide and displaying them all at the lowest price they are advertised for. In addition, Holidu has a number of additional filters that allow users to search for the ideal rental for their trip, such as B. with pool and pets.

Two years after founding Holidu, we also launched our subsidiary Bookiply. Bookiply’s software and service is specifically designed for vacation rental companies and offers a range of features to make their lives easier. These include synchronising bookings and calendars to avoid double bookings, which is always a big problem in the holiday rental market, providing property descriptions and photographs taken by our in-house content team and a network of professional photographers, collecting payments and providing 24/7 customer service. The vacation rental market is still a decade behind other digital markets in terms of technological development, so there is a huge opportunity here.

How much money have you raised in total so far? When was the last funding cycle? And how many investors did you meet, how did you meet them, and which channels served you best?

Johannes Siebers: With Series C funding in 2019, we have raised €40 million. We are very happy that we have been supported by many financially strong investors like EQT Ventures and Prime Ventures.

In September this year, we received €4 million in private financing from Dutch businessman and former Booking.com CEO Kees Koolen, which was part of the €5 million we received as part of the extension of our Series C financing. Kees has worked with us as a board member for the past five years and we are very pleased with his continued support. She has helped many large international companies like Booking.com and Uber succeed. Having someone with us who has led companies like this to global greatness and popularity is incredibly valuable right now.

How do you deal with the COWID 19 epidemic to ensure the survival of your business?

Johannes Siebers: The KOVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed travel behavior. The focus on domestic travel has increased significantly, which has also led to an increase in last-minute bookings. The gridlock at the beginning of the year has left many people in despair. We found that as soon as the trip was re-approved, people immediately started looking and booking, especially in safer places closer to home. At one point we even reached an impasse and were almost crushed by the high demand. Fortunately, thanks to the excellent work of our team and the internal technological resources, we were able to respond quickly.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, we are pleased to announce that our company became profitable in May and has since achieved positive seven-figure EBIT. In July alone, more than 27 million users visited the Holidu website, increasing the number of bookings by a factor of 2.6 compared to the previous year and booking more than 130 million euros in new bookings in the same month. We look forward to continuing our work and seeing how our growth continues in the coming months.

What advice can you give to someone who wants to do things similar to you or in a similar direction?

Johannes Siebers: It put us in touch with the best people we could find if we wanted to know more about a particular subject. Learning from the best can be an incredible shortcut to progress.

How do you stay motivated every day

Johannes Siebers: It’s thanks to a great team with a great team spirit. Even during the coronation crisis, when our company faced major challenges – from travel bans that affected our business to closures that forced our employees to work remotely – the team was well connected virtually. Everything has really been put in place to keep our business running.

Our passion is to put the customer first. Receiving positive feedback from customers, especially during a pandemic, was also very motivating and encouraged us to continue. We like to see that we really contribute to our clients’ holiday planning, and as passionate travellers we know how important that is.

Why would you want to be remembered?

Johannes Siebers: To work with my brother and our team to build the largest and most complete solution for the vacation rental market. Holidu is a travel rental search engine, as well as our simplified Bookiply service and software for owners.

If my brother and I can sit on the beach one day and look back and say that we have built a sustainable and viable business that is great for its customers, employees, investors, the community and the environment, we will consider ourselves lucky.

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