Travelers have long asked Airbnb to make it easier to share the cost of a rental, including when they are using different currencies from a lodging host. By acquiring Tilt, the startup will likely add that service to its app.
Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky has said he wants to make it easier for groups of people to split the costs of Airbnb-assisted rentals.
A source says that Jeff Jordan, the Andreessen Horowitz partner on the board of the online home-booking company and the payments startup, helped to engineer the deal.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, and TechCrunch broke the story. But Fast Company reports that sources say the value was “closer” to the $62.1 million that payments startup had raised from investors like Andreessen Horowitz and Felicis Ventures. That would be a much lower level than the $500 million valuation Tilt was hoping for as recently as summer 2015.
In the absence of a formal statement, Airbnb is believed to be buying Tilt, founded in 2012, for its skill at payments technology rather than to keep the brand operating independently over the long-term. However, there was no immediate shutdown announced.
Tilt says more than 500,000 groups completed trips and split bills via its system. The company stands out for being able to handle cross-currency payments, something that’s important to a company like Airbnb that is matching hosts and travelers internationally.
Airbnb became profitable for the first time during the second half of 2016. That means more acquisitions may be in the works, such as a rumored one for Beijing-based home-sharing startup Xiaozhu, prior to the company’s expected initial public offering. It purchased Luxury Retreats last week.
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Photo credit: It's a bittersweet day for Tilt's more than two-dozen employees as the dreams of becoming a billion-dollar unicorn have been traded for an acqui-hire by Airbnb. Tilt