The unique travel-experience offered by Airbnb Company has been expanding beyond booking a place to stay, by adding an “Experience” feature to capture the whole trip experience in its application.
Which is probably why we have been hearing murmurs of Airbnb pursuing the Egyptian start-up Tilt. Tilt is a pioneer in on-the-go money transfer, and one-on-one payments, Tilt was initially bunched together with crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Later it diverged into social payments demand specially, on college campuses.
Airbnb acquiring Tilt would not only give Airbnb experience in the payments space in general, but also experience working with payments around social gatherings and events — and specifically getting those funded.
Airbnb acquires Tilt.com officially:
Tilt.com is a crowdfunding company that allows for groups and communities to collect, fund-raise, or pool money online. The company is legally certified in securing fundraisers for non-profit organizations.
According to TechCrunch, Airbnb is obtaining the Tilt assets and will keep the app operational, at least for now. But some sources are characterizing this as more of an acqui-hire, because Airbnb is spending most of the money on retaining the team.
Airbnb’s VP of product, Joe Zadeh, has provided TechCrunch with the following statement. “Airbnb and Tilt have a common vision for building community-oriented products that make it easy to bring people together. Tilt’s experience and expertise complement our ongoing efforts to transform the way people travel. By joining forces, we’ll reimagine how groups travel and enhance Trips, our new platform that brings together where you stay, what you do, and the people you meet all in one place.”
The amount of the acquisition was undisclosed, however it is estimated to be north of $50 million, though the deal is still fluid and things could change.
The Information reported that the price may be between $10 million and $20 million. Either way, it’s a significant drop off from the $400 million valuation it picked up in May 2015. Tilt raised around $30 million in that financing round, and in total has raised around $62 million.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Alexandria-born entrepreneur Hussein said that the Egyptian revolution had much to do with his joining Tilt. “Around that time I was thinking about social impact; the first Egyptian revolution was happening on Facebook, [and I was] seeing how tech could have a huge impact on people’s lives,” he said. “James was pitching Tilt to me, and I was like, that’s it. That’s where I’m gonna go.”
If Airbnb is really after acqui-hire the top talent in the payments space, by acquiring Tilt as it is an area which could complement trip-booking then now, should we rejoice the international recognition of the exceptional Egyptian talent or the total opposite?