German acquisition for Secret Escapes as it looks to grow in Europe and build mobile presence

Venture capital-backed flash sales company Secret Escapes has made its first continental acquisition.

Secret Escapes has bought Berlin start-up JustBook for an undisclosed amount on the back of year-on-year revenue growth of 300 per cent.

The acquisition brings to Secret Escapes a business which consists of a mobile and web platform to book ‘exclusive hotel deals’.

Secret Escapes itself was set up in 2010 to provide members-only flash sales for luxury travel and now has a base of 4 million users in the UK alone. The company was one of three businesses featured by GrowthBusiness in 2012 as part of a series of video diaries entitled The stars of Tech City.

The London-based business says that it has already achieved ‘great success’ in the UK and other European markets, but will now have a ‘serious commitment’ to the German luxury travel market in 2014.

Alex Saint, co-founder and CEO of Secret Escapes, comments, ‘This is a very exciting acquisition for us, and our first on the continent, and we’re very pleased to be able to integrate a highly innovative company with our own.

‘We were already making great strides in replicating the success of our UK business in this market, but by joining forces with the JustBook team, we will be able to reap the benefits of solid mobile and app-savvy tech as well as a first-class management and sales team.’

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Over the course of its history, Secret Escapes has been funded by venture capital investments. Its first round of capital saw the start-up raise seed capital in April 2011 through the Titan Venture Capital Trusts 3 & 4 and Octopus Venture Partners. It then followed it up in October by closing its first institutional round and then an £8 million transaction involving Octopus Investments, Index Ventures and Atlas Venture.

As part of the deal, JustBook’s three founders and its team of 25 will be responsible for running the Secret Escapes Germany business and building a mobile strategy for the entire company.

Stefan Menden, co-founder and managing director of JustBook, adds, ‘When Secret Escapes approached us, we were extremely excited by the opportunity.

‘We share a common understanding for the importance of an outstanding product, a perfect customer experience and mobile as a disruptive platform.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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