Airbnb acquires Lapka, which makes breathalyzers and environment sensors

airbnb acquires lapka a sensor making company airbnb1
If you’re serious about running a tight ship when it comes to your Airbnb, you might get smart locks and a security system to make things more convenient for your guests and less of a liability for you.

Right now, everything you need to outfit your rental property comes from third-party players, but that might be changing. Lapka, a small design studio based in Russia, announced via Twitter yesterday that it had been acquired by Airbnb.

Lapka has made a breathalyzer you use with your smartphone, and a “personal environment monitor,” which consists of four sensors for radiation, electromagnetic field strength, humidity, and nitrate levels.

Just what Lapka and Airbnb have planned isn’t clear. “At Lapka, we were unconcerned with investing in a particular device, service, category, or direction,” writes CEO Vadik Marmeladov on Lapka’s website. “Instead, we focused on creating an adaptable lifestyle brand where people can engage comfortably and enthusiastically.”

That could mean almost anything, and, indeed, Marmeladov isn’t spilling any beans: “Both companies share an extreme passion for design, beauty and meaningful, cinematic experiences. What we’re capable of building together is beyond explanation, so let’s leave that for later news,” he writes of the partnership with Airbnb, adding that Lapka itself won’t be building or manufacturing any new devices.

Airbnb has already proven it wants to make users’ properties smarter, by offering select hosts free Nest thermostats back in 2014. And smart-device makers are trying to meet their unique needs, too. Form Devices launched its Point security system on Kickstarter last year, and it seemed designed with Airbnb in mind. Instead of cameras, it detects noise and sends alerts in case of a smoke alarm. So hosts can bust bad guests, it turns colors when guests are being too noisy or smoking.  Smart lock companies such as Friday advertise themselves as being perfect for Airbnbers, too.

The acquisition of Lapka might just be the start of a new direction for Airbnb, one in which it starts handing out its own products to trusted hosts to enhance and support their hosting experience. Let’s just hope that breathalyzer has nothing to do with it.


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