Airbnb is getting more serious about keeping you safe. The short-term rental company has expanded its portfolio — not of houses this time, but of companies under its umbrella. On Friday, Airbnb purchased background-check startup Trooly Inc., with hopes that hosts and guests alike can avoid getting scammed. Alas, as Airbnb grows larger, this seems like an increasingly salient risk.
This is by no means the first time that Trooly has worked alongside Airbnb. In fact, Airbnb has been using the Los Altos, California-based company since 2015 to verify its users’ identities. More broadly, Bloomberg reports, the startup’s technology could assist Airbnb in keeping tabs on customer violations, which could be hugely helpful as Airbnb has struggled with fraudulent listings, as well as guests who have tried to go around Airbnb by contacting hosts directly and offering to pay them for their properties.
Few details are available, and there is no indication of either how much Airbnb paid nor any other specifics. “We look forward to welcoming the Trooly team to Airbnb in the coming weeks,” said company spokesman Tim Rathschmidt.
Familiar sources, however, note that Airbnb is particularly interested in Trooly’s intellectual property and engineering team. The deal is expected to be made public on Monday, whereupon Trooly will no longer operate as an independent company.
Airbnb has been making quite a few changes as of late, and though the company is currently privately held, this degree of movement could herald some commotion on the horizon. The company is currently valued at around $31 billion, and boasts more than 3 million rental listings. Just a few months ago, Airbnb bought Luxury Retreats, a Canadian company that focused on the high-end rental market, and over the last few months, Airbnb has unveiled a number of new features, including For You and the humanitarian-driven Open Homes project.
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