Monday, April 15, 2024

Airbnb acquires AI startup GamePlanner.AI for nearly $200 mn

Hospitality major Airbnb has acquired AI company GamePlanner.AI, which was in “stealth” mode and led by a Siri co-founder, for nearly $200 million, to use generative AI for trip planning.

Gameplanner.AI was founded in 2020 by former Siri co-founder Adam Cheyer and Siamak Hodjat.

“What makes GamePlanner.AI so special is that they combine expertise in AI, design, and community,” said Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky.

“Airbnb is one of the more humanistic companies in technology, and I believe that, together with Adam and his team, we can develop some of the best interfaces and practical applications for AI,” he said in a statement late on Tuesday.

While Airbnb is already using AI across its service, including large language models, computer vision models and machine learning, Cheyer and Hodjat’s team will focus on accelerating select AI projects and integrating their tools into its platform.

Cheyer co-founded Siri, which was acquired by Apple, and then led server side engineering and AI for Siri, while working alongside Steve Jobs.

He later co-founded Viv Labs, which was acquired by Samsung and is now known as the company’s voice assistant Bixby.

Cheyer was also on the founding team of Change.org, the world’s largest petition platform.

Alongside Cheyer, Hodjat led the natural language processing team for Siri at Apple and led the largest engineering team for Viv Labs at Samsung.

“A big part of what attracted us to Airbnb was our shared commitment to using AI to enable human connection,” said Cheyer.

“I believe that without great design and community-based intelligence, AI can only achieve a fraction of its potential. But with them, the sky’s the limit. The Airbnb team understands this better than anyone,” he added.

Airbnb has grown to over 4 million hosts who have welcomed over 1.5 billion guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe.

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