Airbnb Aims To Get More Social With Acquisition Of Q&A Startup Localmind

Airbnb is announcing that it has acquired Localmind, a startup that allows users to post questions about specific locations, which are then answered in real time by local experts.

Airbnb has acquired the company’s three-person team and its technology. Apparently Localmind will be working on some sort of “social initiatives.” Co-founders Lenny Rachitsky and Beau Haugh were pretty vague when I asked what those initiatives will entail, because they didn’t want to “spoil the surprise.” They did talk about the idea of a “social object” that companies can create interactions around — on Airbnb, that social object is the trip. So I can imagine Airbnb adding social features to the trip-planning experience.

Haugh added that Localmind was “doing pretty darn well,” so the team members only accepted the deal because they were excited about working at Airbnb. He said they were attracted by what they saw of Airbnb’s operations (he described it as a big company made up of “little startups”), as well as the impact they could have in reaching Airbnb’s massive customer base.

And here’s what Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky had to say about the deal in an email statement:

The role of social in travel is more important than ever. We’ve seen connections shape the experience for our community, so we’re excited to have the Localmind team join us and lead this next wave of social products.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Prior to the acquisition, Localmind raised a total of $650,000 in funding from Year One Labs, Granite Ventures, iNovia Capital, Real Ventures, and others. (Robert Scoble also declared it his favorite app at South by Southwest in 2011.)

Rachitsky and Haugh also said there are no immediate plans to change or shut down the existing Localmind service, though they left the door open to announcing such changes in the future.