Airbnb raises $7.2M and launches iPhone app

Users can now access the marketplace for renting out space from their mobile device

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
November 11, 2010
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Airbnb for iPhoneAirbnb, a marketplace for renting out space, announced Wednesday that it has raised $7.2 million in Series A capital from Greg McAdoo of Sequoia Capital and Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners. The new funding will be used to make new hires as the company grows and expands to more cities and countries around the world.

Since its launch, Airbnb has seen 700,000 nights booked in 8,000 cities in 166 countries--impressive stats that probably didn’t hurt in attracting Sequoia and Greylock to the table.

The San Francisco-based startup has raised $7.8 million in total funding from Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, and other prominent angel investors, including Y Combinator and Youniversity Ventures.

Coinciding with the big cash boost, Airbnb launched a brand new app for the iPhone, which packages all of the site’s essential functions into one tightly-designed mobile app. Now iPhone users can search for a space and book a reservation without ever sitting at a computer. Users that already have reservations can check their itinerary and get directions to their destination, a huge bonus for travelers in unknown cities.

While hosts cannot use the app to add their space to the marketplace, what they can do is enhance their current listings. For example, a host can upload photos of their space or edit special deals directly from the iPhone. They can also check their guest schedule and accept or reject guests from the app.

Also just launched is a feature called “Instant Book,” which allows a guest to receive instant reservation confirmation, without having to wait for approval from the host. Think of it as an analog to eBay’s “Buy It Now” option. Hosts must choose to enable the feature for their space to make it accessible to travelers.

Looking toward the future, Airbnb predicts that its most profound areas of growth in 2011 will be in international cities. To that end, co-founder and CTO Nathan Blecharczyk says his company will be exploring “local payment options” in those cities, to accelerate user adoption.

Check out our Vator Box and Startup Sessions featuring Airbnb.

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