Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about Uber's new "money" team. Before that, I told you about how SoftBank is screwing up.
Brian Chesky, chief executive officer and co-founder of Airbnb Inc. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Airbnb's growing up
Following the death of five people at a Halloween party hosted at a California Airbnb rental, and a scathing Vice report outlining Airbnb’s failure to prevent nation-wide scams, the company says it will begin verifying all seven million of its listings.
Airbnb properties will soon be verified for accuracy of photos, addresses, listing details, cleanliness, safety and basic home amenities, according to a company-wide email sent by Airbnb co-founder and chief executive officer Brian Chesky on Wednesday. All rentals that meet the company’s new standards will be “clearly labeled” by December 15, 2020, he notes. Beginning next month, Airbnb will rebook or refund guests who check into rentals that do not meet the new accuracy standards.
These changes, outlined fully here, come as Airbnb preps for an IPO or a direct listing slated for 2020. The company was in need of some serious additions to its barely-there security measures and it also needed to make a grand gesture (or two) to Wall Street following multiple PR disasters over the last two weeks. Airbnb's response to the recently-highlighted problems will help determine how it fares on the public market and given its quick and seemingly comprehensive response, money managers may be pleased.
TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2017 in Berlin on 5 December 2017. ImageXDante for TechCrunch
Meet me in Berlin
The TechCrunch team is heading to Berlin again this year for our annual event, TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin, which brings together entrepreneurs and investors from across the globe. We announced the agenda this week, with leading founders including Away's Jen Rubio and UiPath's Daniel Dines. Take a look at the full agenda.
- Coveo raises $172M at $1B valuation for AI-based enterprise search and more
- Cyber-skills platform Immersive Labs nabs $40M
- Medopad raises $25M to develop biomarkers tracked via apps and wearables
- Neural Magic secures $15M seed to run machine learning models on commodity CPUs
- Chronosphere launches with $11M Series A
- Stealth fintech Digits nabs $10.5M from Benchmark
- Parabol, the meta-meeting software toolkit, raises $4M
- Wardrobe picks up $1.5M for a new fashion rental service
- YC-grad Elpha picks up seed funding