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Could new CEO take Vacasa public?

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The Lake Fork Lodge is one of more than 100 short-term rental homes in McCall that Vacasa manages. Image courtesy of Vacasa

Vacation rental company Vacasa has a new CEO, a move that might presage it’s going public.

“After 10 years as CEO of Vacasa, our founder Eric Breon has decided to step away from day-to-day operations, and focus on vision and strategy for the company by serving on its board,” said Anni Murphy, public relations manager for the company, headquartered in Portland and in Boise, in an email message. “He will lead Vacasa’s search for a new CEO. In the meantime, Matt Roberts, former OpenTable CEO and current independent director on the Vacasa board, will assume the role of interim CEO.”

Under new management

photo of eric breon

Eric Breon

Since founding Vacasa in 2009, Breon grew the organization to more than 25,000 homes under management and 6,000 employees worldwide, the company said in a statement. After its October purchase of Wyndham Vacation Rentals, Vacasa is on track to exceed $1 billion in gross bookings and $500 million in net revenue in 2020.

photo of matt roberts

Matt Roberts

Roberts served as CFO from 2005 to 2011 and CEO from 2011 to 2015 at restaurant booking service OpenTable. As CFO, he led OpenTable through an IPO in 2009, and as CEO he negotiated the sale of the company to the Priceline Group (now Booking Holdings) for $2.6 billion in cash. He joined the Vacasa board in November 2018.

His expertise at OpenTable offers a possible hint about Vacasa’s plans for the future.

“Considering the significant market opportunity and our 60% year-over-year growth, going public is definitely an option,” Murphy said. “Several factors, including market conditions, will determine if and when we go public.”

Roberts was also CFO of online consumer lending group E-LOAN and a member of the digital money transfer provider XOOM board of directors as it transitioned from the private to the public markets. In addition to Vacasa, he serves on the board of Quantcast, a provider of data-driven programmatic and digital advertising, and Snag, an online staffing platform.

Busy year

In addition to its headquarters in Portland and Boise, Vacasa has technology teams in Santiago, Chile; Auckland, New Zealand; and Destin, Florida. It has about 220 employees in its Boise corporate office, about 40 of whom are in technology, with another 100 in field offices throughout the state, as well as several job openings.

In October, Vacasa finalized the acquisition of Wyndham Vacation Rentals, which brought several brands, including ResortQuest, Kaiser Realty and Vacation Palm Springs, under its ownership. Plans for the acquisition were announced last July and are expected to be completed by this fall.

As of the acquisition, Vacasa managed 503 vacation homes in Idaho, while Wyndham managed 109 rentals in the state.

Vacasa, which identifies itself as a technology company more than as a vacation rental company, added a new chief technology officer earlier this year as well.

Investment history

At the same time as the finalization, the company announced a $319 million third round of investment – larger than the $200 million Airbnb received for its third round in 2013 – which gave the company a valuation of more than $1 billion. Hitting that $1 billion mark places it in the “unicorn” category in startup parlance.

The round was led by Silver Lake, which specializes in technology investing. Existing investors Riverwood Capital, Level Equity, and NewSpring also participated in the capital raise. Financial terms were not disclosed.

With a first round funding of $103.5 million and a second round of $64 million, Vacasa has raised a total of $526.5 million in private equity funding — more than any other startup of its kind, according to industry reports.

Vacasa markets and manages vacation rental properties across the country. Property owners list their homes on Vacasa’s website and Vacasa hires management, cleaning and maintenance staffers to oversee the sites. It takes a commission on each booking. It competes against other holiday listing services such as Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO, but operates somewhat differently because it both lists and manages properties for its clients.

About Sharon Fisher

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