Sometimes things fall perfectly into place. News broke over the weekend that the apartment rental giant Airbnb acquired Trip4real, a Barcelona startup formed in 2014 by Gloria Molins. Trip4real holds a special place in the fabric of Barcelona’s emerging tech ecosystem – a charismatic Catalan female founder and her merry band of startuppers have built a meaningful community of travelers (not tourists) that co-creates experiences in over 70 European cities since their launch in 2013.
Barcinno has chronicled the growth of Trip4real from their early days as well as their trip to San Francisco in the spring of 2014 which in hindsight had foreshadowed this week’s news of the acquisition.
On Saturday, Mollins Facebook page said it all: “DREAMS COME TRUE!”
La Vanguardia ran the initial story that the startup was acquired for around €22M, however more recent updates from El Confidential have estimated the all cash purchase price between €5-10M. Regardless, Molins, who maintained majority ownership throughout her fundraising, will receive a hefty payday that coincides with her other bundle of joy – the Catalan founder also welcomed a beautiful baby girl last week! That means she closed the details of the acquisition during the final stages of her pregnancy. An incredible effort that will make life especially sweet during her maternity leave.
A Match Made In Heaven?
Trip4real has long maintained a healthy working relationship with the Silicon Valley giant, making a trip to SF in their early days to establish a rapport. Since then, however, Airbnb made several hints of a foray into the travel services arena, leaving some to wonder if Trip4real would be their friend or foe during the expansion.
The early gamble on a week-long trip to SF paid dividends for the young Catalan startup as their ongoing relationship surely kept them top of mind and high on the list for Airbnb’s acquisition targets.
According to Tech.eu and dealroom.co, Trip4real had raised €2.7M from Caixa Capital Risc, Kibo Ventures and El Bulli founder Ferran Adria, among other angels and investment vehicles in Spain. Almost coinciding with the news of Trip4real’s exit was a great featured interview with Molins in Forbes last Friday. As they say, good news comes in threes!
Welcome to the Airbnb family
Trip4Real will continue to operate as a stand alone business in the short term and there will be no immediate impact on existing experience hosts or bookings. Airbnb and Trip4Real are fully aligned on a vision of a different kind of travel experience, allowing people to experience places as if they lived there.
Andreu Castellano, PR Manager of Airbnb in Spain & Portugal told Barcinno this after the deal was public:
“We are delighted to welcome Trip4Real to the Airbnb family. Gloria Molins and her team share our vision of a different kind of travel experience that is local and authentic. Their experience and expertise is a great complement to our ongoing efforts to transform the way that people travel.”
Castellano added that they’re continually experimenting with new things, but don’t have anything to share right now. “We have a few exciting things in the works.”
He says that Barcelona is the most important hub for peer-to-peer economy startups in Spain (Wallapop, Glovo, SocialCar, WeSmartPark, PopPlaces…).
“These companies were created by local entrepreneurs that all benefited from the city’s entrepreneurial spirit, local talent and public support.”
Congratulations to Gloria and the entire Trip4real team on their exciting exit!