YC-backed Glimpse helps Airbnb hosts make money through product placement

Anthony Ha

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.


Glimpse founders

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."

More From

  • Google rolls out virtual visiting card in India

    Google has rolled out a new Search feature in India that enables influencers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, or anyone else who wants to be easily discovered online create a virtual visiting card in what appears to be the company's latest attempt to add more LinkedIn -esque functionalities into its search engine. The company said it has rolled out the feature, called people cards, first in India because of the special affinity people in the world's second largest internet market have shown toward looking up their own names on the search engine. Users can create people cards about themselves by signing into their Google account and then looking up their name on Google search.

  • Singapore's trade finance startup Incomlend raises $20M led by Sequoia Capital India

    Incomlend, a Singapore-headquartered startup that operates a trading platform to connect exporters and importers with investors, has raised $20 million in a new financing round, it said on Tuesday. Sequoia India, the India and SEA investment arm of the storied U.S. headquartered venture firm, led the Series A round in four-year-old Incomlend. The CMA CGM Group, one of the world’s largest shipping and logistics firms, also participated in the round.

  • Tencent wants to merge China's esports archrivals Douyu and Huya

    The war between two of China's largest esports companies may soon come to a truce at the will of their investor Tencent. Tencent, the world's biggest games publisher, announced late Monday a proposal to consolidate Douyu and Huya, the competing livestreaming sites focused on video games. The proposal is non-binding, but Tencent has paved the way for it to go through.

  • Shares of Uber, Lyft drift lower after California judge says that contract drivers are employees

    Shares of Uber and Lyft dipped modestly after a California judge granted a preliminary injunction that TechCrunch reports could force the two American ride-hailing companies to reclassify drivers as employees in the state. Lyft's stock is down a sharper 2.1%, though its shares rose during regular trading, making the impact of its after-hours declines smaller in aggregate. As TechCrunch noted in its coverage of the ruling, the costs associated with classifying current drivers as employees and not independent contractors could prove material.