Airbnb, the home sharing platform, is acquiring Trooly, a background check startup as it aims to prevent guests and hosts from running into bad situations when they use the service.
According to a report in Bloomberg, Trooly has been working with Airbnb since 2015 to help the company authenticate the identities of users. The startup analyzes data from public records, social media and other data to authenticate people. Bloomberg reported that with the acquisition of Trooly, it can better track customers’ violations. “We look forward to welcoming the Trooly team to Airbnb in the coming weeks,” said Airbnb spokesman Tim Rathschmidt in a statement to Bloomberg. Rathschmidt wouldn’t say how much Airbnb is paying or terms of the deal.
Airbnb has been a popular service since launching in 2008, but over the years it has had to contend with fake listings from people who pretend to be the owners of the property. It has also had to contend with some guests who realized they can get a better deal if they find an attractive listing on the platform and then contact the host via social media directly. That cuts Airbnb out of the process and hurts its profits because it gets as much as a 12 percent fee from the guests, reported Bloomberg. Hosts are charged a 3 percent fee on the listing that is booked. In a lot of instances Airbnb has to charge a local tax of around 3 percent that isn’t required if the person goes directly to the host. Trooly launched in 2014 but raised its first round of funding – $10 million – in 2016. That round was led by Bain Capital Ventures and Milliways Ventures, noted the report.
People familiar with the deal told Bloomberg that Airbnb will get Trooly’s intellectual property and engineering team with the acquisition. The deal is expected to close Monday (June 19), at which point Trooly will shutter its operations.