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From personal frustration to profitable business: Roomorama

Avid global trotter turned online entrepreneur Jia En Teo channelled her frustrations with the online short-term holiday rental sector into creating Roomorama, a very profitable business that’s leading the property rental marketplace after merging with Fabrice Grindaalso of Lofty.com and securing $2.1 million in seed funding.

After dealing personally with unreliable online accommodation classifieds, Teo and Federico Folcia were inspired to find a solution to their dilemma. The pair decided to rent their New York City pad to travellers, to financially support their own trips. It was this decision that steered the concept into a lucrative business and in January 2009, Roomorama.com was born.

The property rental website has since become a global leader in the online holidaying marketplace, recently merging with Fabrice Grindaalso of Lofty.com and securing US$2.1 million in seed funding as part of a bid to double its property listing by the end of 2012.

Jia said: “International travellers and property owners are continuing to embrace the short-term rental model, and I’m confident that this merger will deliver what the industry has been seeking – higher quality, improved reliability, and a swifter booking process.”

Grindaalso also sees the joint venture as an exciting move and said he’s eager to “combine the strengths of both companies…reinforcing Roomorama’s position as a leader in the industry,” he said.

Currently, the site catalogues 50,000 properties, including private luxurious apartments, houseboats and hillside villas, in more than 3,600 destinations worldwide. According to Teo, the site averages a gross booking value of over $1,000, with reservations made between eight to 14 nights.

In 2011, the site experienced record-breaking growth and its local property portfolio alone soared by more than 150 percent. Australia currently has more than 2,000 properties listed, ranking among the top ten places to escape according to Roomorama’s booking data.

Teo said Roomorama’s now working to incorporate a total of 300,000 properties, in order to give Australian holidayers, who rank second on Roomorama’s frequent user base in 2011, extra choices for a fraction of the cost.