Airbnb with the (potential) purchase of the year


January 25, 2017

According to reports, Airbnb is closing in on a deal to acquire Tilt for somewhere between $10m and $20m.

Rough price tag for the social payments startup, which has raised $62m and was once valued at $400m (right around the time co-founder James Beshara spoke at Hustle Con). However, “many employees will be offered positions,” so that should lessen the blow.

As for Airbnb, this purchase makes all the sense in the world and could prove critical to its future growth. But, before we get to that…

A little background on Tilt

It began in 2012 as a crowdfunding platform called Crowdtilt. While its rivals focused on use cases (GoFundMe: individual pursuits, Kickstarter: projects), it focused on a demographic: college students.

Over the last couple years, the company has turned its attention to international markets in an attempt to beat the competition to the punch abroad.

Has that strategy worked? Well, considering Tilt’s monthly active users fell by 32% over the last 3 months (and again, that price tag), we’d say that’s a hard “no.”

Fortunately, Airbnb doesn’t care whether Tilt fared overseas…

They’re shutting down the app, anyway.

What they do care about is the technology and expertise needed to process cross-currency payments on a global scale (which is not easy to do).

Why? Because, for Airbnb to become a universal travel platform, being able to process transactions worldwide is a necessity.

2 more reasons why this makes so much darn sense for Airbnb:

Bullet points coming in hot!

  • Airbnb wants to be the hub for your entire vacation, not just the app you use to rent a room. Curated experiences, local tour guides, flight-booking — they want to do it all. So, getting a bunch payments experts on staff is a huge win.

The easier it becomes to split the bill on Airbnb, the further they pull away from the competition (hotels and resorts). Tilt built a one-to-one payments platform (like Venmo) and obviously knows what’s up with group payments, so again, huge win.

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