Square, Airbnb and why experience really is design

During the heyday of industrial and manufacturing economy, what mattered was the brand. Today, what matters is the complete experience, one that hides technology, infrastructure and complexity and in the process creates a bond between us and the product.

eBay says it is buying Braintree for $800 million eBay(s EBAY) is buying Braintree, a Chicago-based payment platform for approximately $800 million in cash, the company announced this morning. “Braintree…

Report: PayPal looking to buy Braintree

PayPal is close to finalizing a deal to acquire e-commerce engine Braintree, according to the Wall Street Journal. Braintree occupies the increasingly lucrative middle ground between small business payments and large enterprise operations.

Uber, Data Darwinism and the future of work

Uber, a San Francisco-based personal transportation oriented startup, is facing a backlash from a few of its drivers. But the confrontation is less about Uber and more about the challenges facing a society being rebuilt because of connectedness.

Revenue is the new black

Startups have been insulated from the wider economic climate for years — but now they’re feeling the chill, and the focus is switching to revenue generating ideas rather than get-big-quick consumer services. That’s a good thing, says one serial entrepreneur.

Airbnb goes social and local with acquisition of Localmind

Airbnb announced in a blog post Thursday that it’s acquired Localmind, the Q&A startup that allows users to answer and receive information particular to their locations. Airbnb noted in the post that Localmind will allow them to add more social components to their popular travel product.

Startups tackle the local neighborhood as the next frontier

Looking for the latest trend in location-based startups? Companies are increasingly looking to the intersection of location and community with the neighborhood, an ideal place to target people for providing information and news, but also a possible target for specific advertising.

Born to help make the rent, Airbnb grew from good design

Airbnb, the darling success story of Paul Graham’s Y Combinator, began with a few design guys in San Francisco renting out an air mattress to customers, but the service has grown immensely since then, and Joe Gebbia, the company’s co-founder, said it was all about design.

Airbnb, Coursera and Uber: The rise of the disruption economy

We’re used to how the social web has disrupted media, but that same wave is moving through other industries, driven by startups like Airbnb, Coursera and Uber — and while regulators and entrenched industries are trying to fight it, the trend behind that wave is unstoppable.

Meet the man who’s beating Airbnb in Europe

European vacation rentals site HouseTrip has everything going for it right now: not least fast growth and a fresh new round of funding. Co-founder Arnaud Bertrand lays out why he thinks his site can carry on winning — and reveals the scale of his ambition.

Bridal Brokerage takes the financial sting out of canceled weddings

Bridal Brokerage, a startup out of the University of Virginia’s business school, is looking to disrupt the wedding industry by buying and re-selling canceled weddings, a huge financial opportunity in the United States where most couples write wedding checks far in advance of the big day.

Here comes everybody: Why AirBnB is so disruptive

I was an AirBnB sceptic for a long time, but trying the service made me realize just how disruptive it could be — and how it also shares a lot of the same characteristics of other disruptive businesses that are powered by the social web.


Opportunities and risks in the share economy

The global population will reach 9 billion by 2050. Owning physical items — cars, apartments, office space — has both lost some of its luster and will be increasingly inefficient for a global market.

Tripbirds takes another swoop at social travel

After trying its hand as a pure-play social recommendations service, travel website Tripbirds has relaunched with a strong focus on hotel booking. But will its smart look and Facebook integration be enough to help it overcome the vast amount of competition and expertise out there?

Silicon Valley tech boom is inflating rents… by a lot

San Francisco red-hot startup activity is not only inflating the commercial real estate market, but it is also having an impact on the residential rental market, data shows. Since January 2011 annual rents are up by $5000, but down in Peninsula, rents are up even higher.

When DIY plans meet reality: Zaarly unveils “Anywhere” API

Found a photo of a beautiful birthday cake or home decorating project you want to replicate, but don’t have the DIY skills to make it yourself? Zaarly’s new API lets users post inspirational photos to the site where chefs and handymen can turn photos into reality.

The sharing economy isn’t motivated by the environment

While web sharing sites — like Airbnb and Zipcar — have an environmental angle, potential users of these services aren’t all that motivated by the environmental benefits, according to a new survey. Instead web sharing users are motivated by saving money and by having easy access.

Paul Berry’s CasaHop raises $1.2M from First Round, Betaworks

CasaHop, the first start-up out of former Huffington Post CTO Paul Berry’s incubator SoHo Tech Labs, has raised $1.2 million, led by First Round Capital, with participation from Betaworks, Lerer Ventures and a number of individual investors. The site helps users exchange homes.

Credit scores, with a little help from your friends

By now, we know that our online reputations hold implications for our employment, love lives and even insurance claims. But some emerging companies believe that our online identities – and our social data in particular – are valuable sources for evaluating and even managing credit risk.

Who’s liable in the share economy?

The tragic story in which a man rented a car in Boston via peer-to-peer car sharing company RelayRides and wound up seriously injuring four people while losing his life, raised a familiar question for the share economy: Who’s responsible?

The new resource dependence

You can’t build an iPhone battery without many rare earth elements and China controls about 90 percent of the rare earth supply.

Meet the man behind Europe’s hottest VC firm

Index Ventures co-founder Neil Rimer has helped steer his company to success with investments in Skype, Betfair and many more. He explains why he’s obsessed with education and marketplaces — and why he wishes he’d invested in Kickstarter.

Spinlister: Like RelayRides for bike lovers

New York City-based Spinlister is looking to create a peer-to-peer marketplace for bikes, connecting those who have an excess supply with users who want to ride but aren’t quite ready to own or buy their own two-wheeled vehicles yet. It’s like RelayRides or Airbnb for bikes.

Airbnb acquires UK-based Crashpadder for Olympic flats

Airbnb expects a ton of bookings during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, but it wasn’t the only game in town. So the U.S.-based startup is taking out some of the competition, with the acquisition of Crashpadder, which is its biggest competitor in the U.K. market.

Dog Vacay is basically Airbnb for dog boarding

Finding a place for your dog to stay while traveling can be a huge pain. Dog Vacay seeks to help dog owners find hosts to take care of their canines while they’re out of town, providing a network of affordable, local dog boarders.

Once again, SXSW is huge for Airbnb in Austin

Austin at SXSW is a prime example of the kind of flexibility that Airbnb can provide to both residents and visitors during a major event. With three weeks left before the conference starts, the San Francisco-based startup has already surpassed last year’s bookings.

How Marc Andreessen makes Silicon Valley magic

At just 2.5 years old, Andreessen Horowitz, the VC firm founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, has become a tech industry institution with holdings in Facebook, Twitter, and more. GigaOM talked with Andreessen to get his thoughts on Silicon Valley and the larger tech landscape.

The simple secret to beating clones and copycats

Startups often rail against copycat companies, arguing that they steal their business and their ideas. But maybe the secret to beating clones isn’t to waste time trying to shut them down — it’s to accept them and focus on being bigger, better and faster.

Now Samwer Bros clone Fab and target European rollout

The team behind design sales site was outraged to discover a U.K.-based rival that seems to mimic not only their business but also their look. But outrage may not be enough to stop Germany’s Samwer brothers from going big with their latest clone.

Connectedness & us: Takeaways from GigaOM RoadMap

Connectedness was the theme of our first GigaOM RoadMap conference and we talked to smart speakers and attendees all day long. Here are the GigaOM and GigaOM Pro editorial teams’ highlights and key takeaways from yesterday’s events, plus some photos from the event.

How the Internet is revolutionizing reuse

The old idea of reuse is at the heart of the web-based sharing economy which uses the maturation of the Internet and mobile to enable the sharing of under-utilized resources. Is it a trend that can have a real impact on reducing waste?

Airbnb CEO: The future is about access, not ownership

For decades now, folks in America have generally prized the idea of ownership — especially regarding homes. But according to Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky, as the world’s population gets larger and technology makes us more connected, the adulation of ownership is slowly starting to wane.

AirBnB’s Brian Chesky to keynote at GigaOM RoadMap on Nov. 10

Brian Chesky, co-founder and chief executive officer of San Francisco-based AirBnB will be a headline speaker at GigaOM RoadMap conference scheduled for November 10 in San Francisco and will talk about the potential of the new people-to-people economy. More details inside.

Greylock boosts big data investment with new hire

Greylock Partners, the VC firm backing companies such as Cloudera, Airbnb and ZipCar hired DJ Patil, formerly the chief product officer at Color, as a data scientist in residence. Greylock’s trying to help its companies monetize the rich vein of user data on the web.

So you want to start a web sharing company

With all the attention (not all of it good) that collaborative consumption companies like Airbnb have been getting lately, we’ve been mulling over some tips for entrepreneurs looking to either start one of these companies now, or hoping to make one of these companies succeed.


How to leverage the web-sharing economy now

The emerging web-sharing movement, which includes startups like Airbnb, RelayRides, and ThredUP, has its roots in the maturing way that people use the Internet and cell phones, and its future economy will rise around location, niche groups and capital-intensive, under-utilized and time-sensitive objects. For entrepreneurs looking to break into the space, here are a few tips and tricks to remember when building a business.

Can Airbnb’s safety program rebuild user trust?

It’s been a tough week for peer-to-peer home rental service Airbnb, which has come under fire for its sluggish and inconsistent response to an Airbnb user whose home was burglarized and vandalized. In a contrite blog post, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky laid out new safety initiatives.

AirBnB gets $112M in new investment

AirBnB, a San Francisco–based person-to-person room-, apartment- and house-rental startup, has raised $112 million in Series B funding from a group of investors including Russian Internet investor DST Global, General Catalyst and Andreessen Horowitz. AirBnB has raised about $120 million. More details after the fold.

How Big Is Airbnb, Really?

Airbnb, the peer-to-peer apartment and house rental website, is rumored to be raising $100 million in new funding at a whopping $1 billion valuation. But based on the company’s revenue and growth prospects, that number may not be as shocking as it seems.

Just Married: Ashton Kutcher Invests in Airbnb

Airbnb has added Ashton Kutcher — comedic heartthrob, coveted angel investor and Twitter-master extraordinaire — to its team of investors, the San Francisco based startup announced in its blog this evening.

Neighborhood Car Sharing Goes Nationwide With Getaround

Whoever thought that renting your bed to strangers would work? But Airbnb has made it work and now Getaround, a peer-to-peer car sharing service, is looking to find similar success by letting people rent out their cars to other users.

VIDEO: How Web-Based Sharing Is Driving A Green Economy

While I’ve noticed a bit of a slump in cleantech these days, one of the bright spots has been using the web to share resources, from rooms, to cars to “stuff.” Airbnb’s co-founder Joe Gebbia and RelayRides CEO Shelby Clark, chat with Collaborative Consumption Lab’s Lauren Anderson.

OneFineStay Gets $3.7M for Posh Peer-to-Peer Vacations

The online travel is hot stuff again, as a new generation of startups look for innovative ways to disrupt the travel industry. Now high-end British site OneFineStay has raised its first round of capital as it looks to add a little class to the field.

How Airbnb Uses Video to Boost Bookings

Airbnb has finally reached critical mass by providing a platform for renting out rooms to people on the Internet. Now it’s using web video to showcase some of its most interesting properties and to put users at ease with renting rooms to and from strangers.

What Every Startup Can Learn From AirBnB

Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of AirBnB, shared the company’s story and the lessons he learned in three years of chasing a dream. One of the most valuable lessons? It’s better to be broke than well-funded. His other tip: Conventional wisdom is overrated + Video Interview

How Web Sharing Sites Can Save The Planet

Using the web to help people share “stuff,” like cars, has become a hot commodity. But there’s an overlooked aspect at the heart of this cultural shift: how to use the Internet to manage constrained resources sustainably in the face of massive population growth centered around cities.