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‘We Know Them. We Trust Them.’ Uber and Airbnb Alumni Fuel Tech’s Next Wave.

SAN FRANCISCO — Riley Newman, a former head of data science at Airbnb, set out in mid-2017 to raise a venture capital fund that would invest in a multitude of tech trends.But he quickly realized that potential investors were not interested in that kind of fund. Instead, all they wanted to hear about were his former Airbnb colleagues and whether they might start their own companies.“It was, ‘Yeah, all that stuff is fine, but Airbnb, right?’” Mr. Newman, 36, said. “Airbnb was where we had a competitive edge on the market.”So Mr. Newman and his partners at Wave Capital adjusted their pitch: They said they were creating…

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Airbnb Acquires HotelTonight to Expand Travel Portfolio

SAN FRANCISCO — Airbnb says it plans to acquire HotelTonight, a service for travelers seeking last-minute hotel bookings, in a deal that will expand the lodging-rental company’s portfolio with traditional and boutique hotel listings.Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition values HotelTonight in the vicinity of its last private valuation, $465 million, said two people who were briefed on the deal and were not authorized to disclose the price. That would make it Airbnb’s biggest acquisition.In a statement, Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive, emphasized the company’s desire to expand into all aspects of travel. “A big part of building an end-to-end travel platform is serving…

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Thousands of New Millionaires Are About to Eat San Francisco Alive

Jack Sachs, illustration; Shutterstock, crowd.CreditAs Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and Pinterest plan to go public, California’s newly minted rich will be hungry for parties, houses, boats, bikes — and ice sculptures.March 7, 2019SAN FRANCISCO — Big wealth doesn’t come in monthly paychecks. It comes when a start-up goes public, transforming hypothetical money into extremely real money. This year — with Uber, Lyft, Slack, Postmates, Pinterest and Airbnb all hoping to enter the public markets — there’s going to be a lot of it in the Bay Area.Estimates of Uber’s value on the market have been as high as $120 billion. Airbnb was most recently valued at $31 billion,…

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Labor’s Hard Choice in Amazon Age: Play Along or Get Tough

It’s one of the most vexing challenges facing the labor movement: how to wield influence in an era increasingly dominated by technology giants that are often resistant to unions.Are workers best served when unions take an adversarial stance toward such companies? Or should labor groups seek cooperation with employers, even if the resulting deals do little to advance labor’s broader goals?The debate has flared up around labor’s efforts to make inroads with the likes of Uber and Airbnb, businesses that allow drivers and homeowners to earn income as contractors. And it was on vivid display in the political battle over Amazon’s plan to create a new headquarters…

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Bits: The Week in Tech: A Peek at the Year Ahead

Each week, technology reporters and columnists from The New York Times review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here.Hello! I’m Nellie Bowles, the Silicon Valley and tech culture reporter at The Times, now with the privilege of bringing you the last tech newsletter of 2018.Readers of this letter know all too well what happened in tech news this year. We had some good times (crypto!), but mostly the headlines from Silicon Valley were dire revelations about corporate power, violations of consumer trust and platform-led disinformation.Instagram,…

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State of the Art: ‘Overtourism’ Worries Europe. How Much Did Technology Help Get Us There?

Every summer, the most popular European destinations get stuffed to the gills with tourists, who outnumber locals by many multiples, turning hot spots into sweaty, selfie-stick-clogged, “Disneyfied” towns. They offer a taste of a growing global threat: Across the world, thanks in part to rising affluence, travel is becoming a more widely shared pastime. International trips were up 6 percent in the first half of the year, surpassing experts’ forecasts, according to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization.This growth might once have been considered unambiguously good news. But the world’s most popular destinations cannot expand to accommodate an infinite flood of visitors. Advocates of curbing tourism say…

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New York City Looks to Crack Down on Airbnb Amid Housing Crisis

“After taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the hotel industry, we’re not surprised the City Council refused to meet with their own constituents who rely on home sharing to pay the bills and then voted to protect the profits of big hotels,” Liz DeBold Fusco, a spokeswoman for Airbnb, said in a statement, adding that the bill would violate the privacy of the sites’ users and subject them to “unchecked, aggressive harassment.”The question of what would be best for “ordinary New Yorkers” was at the heart of the debate.A report from the School of Urban Planning at McGill University, commissioned by the hotel…

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Tech Fix: Booking With Airbnb? Here’s Your Survival Guide

Airbnb has some other recommendations: Do a safety check after you enter the house and make sure there is a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher. If something seems odd, contact the host and then, if necessary, call Airbnb’s customer service line.Nick Shapiro, who oversees Airbnb’s trust and risk management, said the company takes additional safety measures like performing background checks on American hosts and guests, and all reservations are scored for risk.“We work hard to ensure that our guests have a positive and safe experience when traveling with us,” he said.To play it extra safe, always have a backup plan. Jot down some attractive hotels near…

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