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HomeAway Leads $20 Million Investment in Gogobot

The arrangement should give Gogobot a formidable ally in the travel industry. And it will need it.

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Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Gogobot, the trip-planning and reviews startup targeting millennial travelers, has closed a $20 million investment led by vacation rental company HomeAway. Previous investors Redpoint Ventures and Battery Ventures also contributed funds.

Gogobot, led by CEO Travis Katz, operates a website and app that travelers use to search for hotels, restaurants and activities, personalized to their tastes.

The HomeAway deal should give Gogobot a formidable ally in the travel industry. And it will need it as it competes with a host of companies on two fronts: Foursquare, Yelp and others on local search as well as travel search sites such as Kayak, TripAdvisor, Hipmunk and, increasingly, Google.

In addition to the investment, HomeAway and Gogobot have inked a separate business deal that aims to help HomeAway beef up the number of travel reviews on its properties and help Gogobot expand its reach. HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples is also joining Gogobot’s board.

“One of the most challenging things in a partner fit is it’s hard to get incentives totally aligned … which sometimes ends up not providing the best experience for an end user,” Katz said in an interview. “Having some financial incentive made those discussions easier to have.”

As part of the deal, HomeAway will start incorporating reviews and tips from Gogobot users into some of its international properties. HomeAway has already been letting its rental owners in the U.S. incorporate this content into local guides they produce to try to attract travelers to stay at their properties.

HomeAway will also start showing Gogobot content in its mobile app and start selling advertising on Gogobot’s behalf.

This article originally appeared on

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