Similar to German business incubator SpringStar developing AirBnB’s international market, Fast Lane Ventures now has its own portfolio company – TravelRent; the target company is now equipped with a USD 2 mln fund from Frontier Ventures (started by DST co-founder Dmitry Alimov) for its further development through 2013. The Russian portal, which facilitates short-term property rentals, aims to create the largest network yet of Russian apartment owners. The USD 2 mln PE funding might seem insignificant when compared to the USD 112 mln that AirBnB raised in its series B funding, but its specific focus on the Russian-speaking market may set them apart from the competition. Fast Lane and Frontier Ventures hope to use TravelRent to dig its heels deeper into Russia’s travel segment, which is expected to hit USD 6 bln sometime in 2012.
TravelRent is a Russia-based service for those looking to rent short-term realty within Russia. Primarily intended to cater to the Russian-speaking population in Russia and neighboring countries, TravelRent features 25,000 properties for rent, with an objective of taking that number to 45,000 in the next year or so. Their ultimate objective is an ambitious one – to develop the largest online community of Russian-speaking property owners. In contrast, its rival, AirBnB’s Russia focus will only take its Russian community to about 10,000 by the end of 2012. The company is headed by entrepreneur and executive extraordinaire Stanislav Frolov, CEO.