Villada, a company owned by Eerik Rusanen and Tommi Lehtonen, two Laurea graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management, announced last week that it had raised funding totalling €448,000. With the help of this growth funding, the company will expand its operations from Finland to Sweden by the end of this year.
Villada is a go-between service for holiday villas and provides company and private customers with hand-selected villas in different parts of the world. At the moment, Villada’s rental service offers about 600 villas in 9 different countries. Villada’s operation in its present form was launched in the summer of 2014 and the number of customers using the company’s service has grown fast.
- At the beginning of 2016, we had reached a point in which Villada’s business operations easily provided enough work for both founders, says Eerik Rusanen, one of the two founders of Villada.
- However, we did not want to stop there, we both wanted to take the business further. The evidence that our business was viable in the Finnish market encouraged us to plan a funding round aimed at international growth.
The entrepreneurs discussed different growth alternatives with the third shareholder and their advisers. They had previously thought about entering the Swedish market, and now started to investigate the option closer.
- The competitive situation in Sweden is similar to the situation in Finland, but Sweden does not have a service based on a similar concept, says Rusanen.
Villada launched a funding round during the summer and managed to raise almost half a million euros from investors by the early autumn. It was the first funding round for the company, but the desired sum was raised reasonably fast.
Villada’s online service will be opened in Sweden in November. The beginning of the year is the busiest season in the villa rental business, so the operation should already be fully established by then. If all goes well, the company will then expand to Norway and the other Nordic Countries.
In addition to the founders, the Villada team currently includes a person responsible for the selection of villas available and a person responsible for the company’s operations in Sweden. Also, they have always had an intern from Laurea.
- The first step in entrepreneurship is to successfully create a job for yourself. But the next stage, when you can also employ others, is an even greater moment of success for an entrepreneur, summarises Eerik Rusanen.
- And of course it is cool for once to be able to introduce something new from Finland to Sweden.
Learn more about the start of Villada on the story published on Laurea website here.