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Airbnb acquires social payments platform Tilt to simplify group travel expenses

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To become the only one-stop destination for travelling experiences, Airbnb has now acquired social payments platform Tilt. The two technology giants are rumoured to have been involved in acquisition talks for more than a month. However, the transaction has now been confirmed by TechCrunch, but financial details are still missing.

It has been suggested that the transaction is valued at tens of millions of dollars, with investors receiving back as much as $12 million in cash. This falls in line with previous reports, which said that Tilt is being valued at around $50 million for this acquisition. But, one cannot confirm the exact numbers at this moment of time.

According to sources privy to the development, this transaction is sort-of an acqui-hire where Airbnb has agreed to acquire all assets, including most of the core team of the company. The homestay aggregator is spending most of their capital on bringing Tilt’s team on board at their company. CEO James Beshara along with the California team is staying whereas the remote teams are not. Their app, on the other hand, is said to stay operational for the time being.

Speaking on this acquisition, Joe Zadeh, VP of Product at Airbnb, says,

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.

California-based Tilt was founded by James Beshara and Khaled Hussein in 2012 with the aim of making it easier for individuals to split bills and collect money from a group. It is extremely popular among the college crowd, where students can share expenses by simply adding them to the app. Till date, it had raised nearly $62 million in funding from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, DCM Ventures, Sean Parker, QueensBridge Venture Partners, Y Combinator, among others.

The payments company also debuted a Pro version for businesses to host, brand, and customise their own crowdfunding experience. Over its four-year long journey, it witnessed more than 500,000 groups complete trips and share bills on the platform. This is surely the primary idea behind Airbnb picking up Tilt in the first place. The company now has the top talent for building a payments product for their platform. Thus, it might soon unveil its own customised wallet service with group expense sharing feature – an essence of Tilt in it.

This development comes on the heels of the (not-so) recent debut of the Experiences feature on their platform. This feature is aimed at expanding the scope of Airbnb’s platform beyond boring old home rentals into building an itinerary around your travel trips. This has been solely launched to remove the hassles of booking multiple experiences from different platforms and bringing them all under one roof. It now provides you with the complete and satisfying local experience of visiting a certain location.


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