IT MAY come as a surprise to fans of camping in Europe that a business set up a few years ago to sell increasingly popular outdoor holidays is collapsing into liquidation. Ecommodation Lab Ltd was founded by Finan O’Donoghue and is behind the website campsited.com, which enables customers to book from thousands of campsites across France, Italy, Spain and Belgium – a market that is apparently worth north of €13bn per annum.
An optimistic sounding Finan claims on the company’s website, “Today there is no easy way to have an open air vacation, lifestyle or life, anywhere in the world. Campsited.com is solving this problem and is on a mission to create the first full service open-air consumer marketplace globally”. Phew!
The Dublin-headquartered Campsited raised plenty of moolah in its early stages and in 2021 announced it was targeting an additional €3m from investors. This was ahead of an expected surge in demand, as European holidaymakers were apparently looking to stay close to home that summer due to the pandemic.
Killarney-born Finan O’Donoghue was certainly confident that the Campsited model would deliver to the bottom line and he previously highlighted a “surge in bookings”, noting he was “highly confident” the company would do very well last year.
Among the plans to expand the company’s offerings was the launch of camper-van and RV rental options and tours on the platform, as well as developing German, Italian and Spanish language versions of the website to promote international growth. What could possibly go wrong?
By the end of 2020, Finan O’Donoghue had raised €2.9m from the likes of US venture capital firm Motley Fool Ventures and Enterprise Ireland. Documents filed in the Companies Office show that money continued to flow in subsequently, with €3/4m raised in April 2022 from a range of backers, with a further €1/4m the following month.
The flow of investment appears seems to have dried up around then, however, and there was not too much succor to be gained from a perusal of the Ecommodation Lab accounts for 2021, signed off at the end of last year. These figures showed that accumulated losses at the company had hit €4.7m by the end of 2021, on foot of a near €2m loss for the 12 months.
The creditors meeting will take place at the start of next month, with Myles Kirby of Kirby Healy Chartered Accountants due to be appointed liquidator. Presumably, he will already have had his holiday.