Wimdu, the homesharing startup that was launched out of the Berlin-based Rocket Internet startup incubator and took a page from Airbnb, is to shut down this year, according to reports.
Citing an announcement on the company’s website, the report said that Wimdu, which has 100 employees, is shutting down at the end of this year due to financial and business challenges.
“The stakeholders and management are working closely with the staff; primary goals are the fair treatment of employees affected by the closure and the management of forward bookings for our guests and hosts,” the announcement said. “All guests and hosts having 2018 bookings – with a check-in date occurring before or on the 31-December-2018 – will be carried out professionally and reliably. All guests with 2019 bookings – with a check-in date occurring after the 31-December-2018 – will be contacted separately to deal with their respective booking.”
The report noted that the company has around 350,000 properties on its website. It’s not clear whether Wimdu will transfer them to another platform.
Wimdu’s problems come at the same time that Airbnb is rolling out new services. In July, the company launched a new experimental feature in which Airbnb hosts will be able to get a partial payment soon after a guest makes a booking. While hosts are normally paid one day after their guests check in, the new option allows invited hosts to receive half of their payment three days after a guest makes a reservation, and the other half a day after the guest checks in. With the service, Airbnb will charge hosts 1 percent of the booking’s subtotal. In the event that a booking is canceled, the payment is taken off the host’s next reservation.
As of now, the feature is only being tested and is not permanent. While reports indicate that the experiment is designed for professional hosts, the feature is becoming available by invitation to regular hosts as well. The news comes as Airbnb wants to put more than a bed and breakfast-style stay at customers’ fingertips. The homesharing platform has branched out this year, endeavoring to help customers find not just a home away from home for the day, week or month, but a vacation experience worthy of posting on Instagram.