The acquisition will go toward building out Airbnb for Work, the company's enterprise solution
Of course Airbnb is best known as a hotel alternative for travelers, but as it gets ready for its long anticipated IPO, which is expected to happen sometime in 2019, the company is looking to expand some of the other parts of its business, namely the enterprise side.
On Friday, the company announced that it acquired Gaest, a Danish marketplace for co-working spaces. While no financial terms of the deal were disclosed, Airbnb did reveal that Gaest will to continue to operate as its own platform "for the foreseeable future." It was also revealed that the Gaest team will be joining Airbnb's Homes business unit, reporting to Greg Greeley, President of Homes.
The Aarhus, Denmark-based Gaest describes itself as, "one of the world's largest online marketplaces for discovering, listing and booking unique spaces for meetings, workshops, photoshoots - you name it." The company allows hosts to list their spaces to business professionals, with the option of providing add-ons and other services.
For Airbnb, acquiring Gaest is a way to build on its Airbnb for Work solution. Launched in 2014 as Airbnb for Business, it started as a way to make it easier for guests who had to travel for their jobs, but has since expanded to include such services as employee relocation and team building. As of September of last year, almost 700,000 companies had employees using Airbnb for Work.
"We know there are a number of unique ways Airbnb can help companies and professionals keep up with the changing ways we work. That’s why, a few months ago, we shared new information about Airbnb for Work. Now, the team focuses on bringing the best of Airbnb to the professional world by expanding beyond just business travel and including team building, offsites and meetings, and relocations for customers," Airbnb wrote in the acquisition announcement.
"To continue offering new ways for professionals to collaborate during offsites and meetings, today we are sharing news that Gaest.com will join the Airbnb family. This acquisition will fuel our vision of helping all professionals feel a sense of belonging at work by connecting them with the unique spaces they need for meetings and events."
Founded in 2015, Gaest currently has over 3,000 spaces available across six continents, with locations in London, Stockholm, Sydney, Mexico City, Brussels, Bangkok, Dubai and Dublin, among many others. The company has raised $3.5 million in venture capital, most recently a $1.5 million seed round in July 2018 from undisclosed investors.
"Three years ago, our co-founders set out on a journey to make it easier to list, discover and book unique spaces to work, learn, live and play. It’s been a wild ride with the highs and lows you’d expect from an ambitious startup who’s trying to engender change," wrote Corey Morris, CMO at Gaest, wrote in a blog post.
"You can expect Gaest.com to become even more awesome and continue using Gaest.com to discover and book remarkable spaces. And don’t worry, we’re still as committed to our original vision as we were on launch day. But now we have more help to fulfill that mission."
This is Airbnb's first acquisition of 2019; the company only made one purchase in 2018, also a deal to expand further into Europe, when it bought French property management company Luckey Homes.
Vator has reached out to Airbnb but the company had no further comment on the acquisition.
(Image source: gaest.com)
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Airbnb.com is the “Ebay of space.” The online marketplace allows anyone from private residents to commercial properties to rent out their extra space. The reputation-based site allows for user reviews, verification, and online transactions, for which Airbnb takes a commission. As of June, 2009, the San Francisco-based company has listings in over 1062 cities in 76 countries.