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Airbnb to acquire background check startup Troo.ly to minimise listing scams

Airbnb will be acquiring California-based startup Troo.ly, which specialises in conducting online background checks, reports Bloomberg News. The size of the deal and any other specifics of the agreement were not disclosed by the company. As per the agreement, the sixteen member team of Troo.ly is expected to be absorbed into Airbnb.

In June last year, Troo.ly had raised $10 million in Series A funds from Bain Capital Ventures and Milliways Ventures.

Fake property listings is an issue Airbnb has been trying to minimise, but every now and then we get to hear of incidents like this, this and this. There also are instances of renters bypassing Airbnb and trying to contact property owners directly, through social media. Troo.ly, which uses public and permissible digital footprints from four types of data sources, including public web, dark web, permissible social media, and Troo.ly’s database of aggregated digital public records, to provide a trust rating service that lets peer-to-peer marketplaces screen potential troublemakers, can help Airbnb with this issue.

Interestingly, Troo.ly doesn’t provide data on “minors, victims of identity fraud, or those returned from active military duty in the prior 2 years.” Also, any individual has the chance to “opt-out of having their digital footprint evaluated by Troo.ly.” But what if the scamsters exercise this option?

Note that Airbnb has been a Troo.ly client for the past two years.

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Airbnb in India

– Last week, the company tied-up with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) to list MTDC homestays on its platform. This is a revenue-sharing agreement, which will see Airbnb sharing a portion of its booking revenue in the state with MTDC. However, it’s not clear what percentage of the booking revenue will be shared.

– In March this year, the company launched its Trips platform in Delhi, with 15 local experiences in Delhi. Trips focus on three specific aspects of travel, including Experiences (activities), Places (recommendations of things to do, like Tripadvisor does), and Homes (stays).

– It also partnered with Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA) to expand its network of homes in rural India, in November last year. Initially, Airbnb and SEWA worked with SEWA members in Gujarat to offer their homes to Airbnb’s international and domestic guests.

– The company had entered into a strategic partnership with and raised an undisclosed amount of investment from the Times of India Group, in April last year.

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