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Airbnb 'Acqhires' Flight Search Tool Vamo

Vamo joins a long line of Airbnb acquisitions.


Airbnb has acquired Vamo, a flight search company similar to Kayak, and will be shutting down the product.

The six-person Vamo team — five engineers and one designer — will be joining Airbnb to work on guest services products like traveler booking tools and the listings’ search engine. The terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.

Vamo, founded almost two years ago, raised $2 million in venture from a Who’s Who of tech angel investors before the acquisition: Quora founder Adam D’Angelo, Khosla’s Keith Rabois, PayPal’s Max Levchin, Path’s Dave Morin and more. Started by former Facebook engineer Ari Steinberg, it sought to make it easier for people to plan multi-stop trips, with a focus on booking airfare. The demand for the service was only “modest,” according to Steinberg.

“Growing a travel business is really difficult,” he said. “We realized the opportunity at Airbnb was much bigger.”

No data or technology from the Vamo product itself will be used by Airbnb, although the team was acquired in part for their expertise with booking.

“We’ve said for a long time we care about being more than just an accommodation platform, that we care about the whole trip,” said an Airbnb spokesperson. “Many people book on Airbnb with multiple parties or have a lot of different coordination efforts, and the Vamo team has been thinking about this stuff.”

Vamo joins a list of Airbnb “acqhires,” including neighborhood analysis service NabeWise, crowdsourcing tool Localmind and photo sharing app DailyBooth. A company spokesperson said in all its acquisitions so far Airbnb has shut down the original product.

Acquisitions where the acquiring company nabs engineers along with the company are common in the tech industry as competition over talent increases. It can be easier to attract star engineers by buying out their startup rather than by recruiting them on salary alone.

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