Wimdu and 9flats combine into one short-term rental companyNews / OnlineBy Sean O'Neil | October 9, 2016Share This article was originally published on The two largest European-founded companies that have aspired to be Airbnb alternatives — Wimdu and 9flats — are combining.The unified business says it will host nearly 500,000 short-term rental properties in 140 countries.Roman Bach, 9flats CEO, will be CEO of the combined entity. Wimdu's lead managers, Arne Kahlke and Sören Kress, are stepping aside. In February 2015, Kahlke and Kress had replaced cofounders Arne Bleckwenn and Hinrich Dreiling.Bach says the combined operation will create the largest European peer-to-peer accommodation rental platform.But, as context, US-based short-term rental giant Airbnb will still be processing more short-term rental transactions in Europe per month than any other company, according to statements by the privately held company.In May, 9flats relocated from Berlin to Singapore. The move came partly in a context of local Berlin opposition to short-term rentals. Since May, Berliners who rent out more than half of their property on a short-term basis risk a fine without a permit.Wimdu and 9flats were founded about five years ago.In its early days, Wimdu received a €90 million investment round that was co-led by Rocket Internet, the Berlin incubator, and Kinnevik of Sweden.But in recent months Rocket Internet has been looking for a buyer in what German news reports call "a fire sale." As of today neither it nor Kinnevik retains ownership in Wimdu/9flats. Only eVenture retains a share.That situation is a far cry from five years ago, when Wimdu was tipped to be a viable competitor to Airbnb and to merit an approximately $1 billion valuation. Airbnb has gone on to raise nearly $3 billion in capital.For its part, 9flats has received about $10 million from sources such as PROfounders Capital and Redpoint Ventures. It last raised a Series B in 2012.Since July 9flats has seen a flurry of online comments that some hosts are not receiving payments from the company. Bach says about 30 hosts are in dispute with 9flats and are rumor-mongering. He told Tnooz the disputes should be resolved soon.UPDATE: 16 October: Tnooz has received several emails saying that hosts have received recent communication from 9Flats to indicate that "all bookings worldwide for a 2 month period have not been paid dues to a computer glitch and that they are working through their payments on a manual basis". This is a quote from their official response which, if true, contradicts Mr. Bach's statement to Tnooz.His company, whose name is to be determined, has prided itself on innovating in the short-term rental space. Two years ago 9Flats made prepayment optional, allowing cash for home rentals.