As Airbnb continues to ramp up its international expansion, 9flats, which claims to be the leader in Europe, is expanding the other way: Today, the private short-term rentals provider (or Airbnb-clone) has announced the acquisition of North American iStopOver. A move that will see the Berlin-headquartered company get a hub in Toronto and benefit from iStopOver's customer-base and inventory, bringing 9flats offering to over 100,000 beds globally. Based on that metric, this puts 9flats much closer to its US rival. While not as heavily funded as Airbnb or Wimdu, the other European player in the room, in May last year 9flats raised a "major investment round" led by Silicon Valley VC firm Redpoint Ventures, with participation also from European investment firm eVenture Capital Partners. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, although the startup said at the time that it brought its total funding to $10m, talking up its aim to become a "global player" in the online travel industry. Today that comes into further focus. But perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. 9flats is founded by Qype founder Stephan Uhrenbacher who was also involved with Lastminute.com -- so this is no newbie to the travel and leisure industry. In particular, the purchase of iStopOver gives 9flats a shot in the arm in North America, South Africa and Australia, where iStopOver is already active.
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