Glimpse is giving Airbnb hosts a way to make extra money while also supplying their accommodations with new products.
The startup was founded by CEO Akash Raju, COO Anuj Mehta and CPO Kushal Negi, who all attended Purdue University together. It’s part of the current batch of startups at accelerator Y Combinator — where, coincidentally or not, Airbnb is the most famous alum.
Raju said that he and his co-founders came up with the idea while they were still in school and working with brands to create pop-up shops on campus. They realized that many new, direct-to-consumer brands are looking to increase awareness, and they decided that Airbnbs were the perfect place to convince someone to try (for example) a new mattress or a new kind of coffee. After all, hotels are already in the product placement business.
If you’re an Airbnb host, you can sign up and then browse offers for free product samples. (If you really want to stock up, you can buy larger quantities at a discounted price.)
Glimpse works with you to showcase the products on your properties, and to email a digital “lookbook” highlighting the various products to guests at the beginning and end of their stay. You then earn a commission fee (Raju said $100 to $500 on average, though it can be even higher for big-ticket items) when these samples lead consumers to make a purchase.
Brands that have marketed themselves through the platform include the GhostBed mattress and Liquid Death water.
The startup first launched in March of this year — not exactly the best time for the travel business. Raju recalled, “We actually launched right before COVID started. After that, what we really spent a lot of time on was empathizing with hosts.”
In fact, some of Glimpse’s early partners stopped listing their properties for a while. But travel is on the rise again, including (or even especially) via Airbnb, and Raju said many of Glimpse’s 750 current properties are now fully booked through September. And given the lost income of the past few months, hosts might be even more interested than usual.
He added that the team will continue building out the platform with new features for product discovery and attribution, but he said, “The key thing that makes us unique is our emphasis on that in-home experience.”