Airbnb acquires AI startup for slightly below $200 million

Airbnb acquires AI startup for slightly below $200 million

Airbnb has made its first acquisition as a public firm, in a deal valued at slightly below $200 million, sources conversant in the deal advised CNBC.

The startup is named Gameplanner.AI, which has been in “stealth mode” since its founding in 2020. Startups in stealth mode function out of the general public eye for numerous causes, resembling to guard mental property or keep away from distractions. Gameplanner.AI will speed up a few of Airbnb’s AI initiatives, in response to Airbnb.

Gameplanner.AI was cofounded by Adam Cheyer, one of many founders of Siri. When Siri was acquired by Apple, he labored alongside Steve Jobs. Cheyer later co-founded Viv Labs, which might grow to be the inspiration for Samsung’s voice assistant.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has stated that generative AI will transform the platform and that he desires to make use of it as a “journey concierge” that learns about customers over time and enhances their journey experiences — for instance, matching customers with the proper rooms or properties. 

This deal is Airbnb’s first acquisition since 2019 and will pique some curiosity on Wall Avenue as as to whether Chesky’s M&A technique is shifting, probably making Airbnb a extra enticing acquisition. The corporate is worthwhile on a GAAP foundation and held $11 billion in money and liquid belongings as of the tip of September.

Airbnb’s information follows stories that Google is in talks to speculate a whole bunch of tens of millions into one other AI startup, Character.AI, which in March raised a $150 million at a $1 billion valuation in a funding spherical led by Andreessen Horowitz. The startup lets folks create digital characters or chat with AI variations of celebrities like Elon Musk or Albert Einstein. 

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