Airbnb closes $20m funding round in Atlas Obscura

Worldwide: Airbnb has partnered with travel and exploration website Atlas Obscura to bring the world’s most unusual places and hidden wonders to the platform’s global community of travellers.

The home-sharing platform has closed a reported $20 million funding round in the Brooklyn-based media company, with participation from previous investors in the shape of A+E Networks and venture capital firm New Atlantic Ventures. As a result, the popular trips and unique activities that have been launched by the Brooklyn-based media company will now be listed exclusively on Airbnb and Atlas Obscura respectively.

Atlas Obscura creates unique experiences by leveraging local experts and leaders within its reported community of seven million monthly unique visitors, 630,000 contributors, in addition to its readership of books. Ranging from an authority on Eastern European brutalist architecture to an avian biologist who specialises in nesting data on flammulated owls, the activities and multi-day trips are designed to immerse travellers in the unique world of its hosts.

When it launched in 2009, Atlas Obscura built its business around stories from around the world and user-generated listings of curious places and events, including ’26 of the World’s Most Astounding Abandoned Resorts’ and ’17 Places to Hunt for Aliens Besides Area 51′. It now says that it plans to use the investment to significantly upgrade its existing trips and local experiences offerings, which account for more than 50 per cent of the firm’s business.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Atlas Obscura chief executive David Plotz said: “The main purpose of the investment is really to take advantage of the popularity of our trips and local experiences and partner with Airbnb to really expand that business and tap into their global audience.”

Airbnb vice president and head of experiences, Joe Zadeh, said: “Atlas Obscura has excelled at providing the kind of unique and memorable experiences that travellers are seeking and this partnership will make our companies and our community even stronger. We can’t wait to introduce our global community to some of these amazing adventures and experiences.”

The prices for Atlas Obscura Experiences and Adventures range from $25 to $7,000 and guests can choose between 32 Experiences and 14 Adventures in more than ten countries.

Highlights of the Atlas Obscura Experiences that are now bookable on Airbnb include:

  • Kingdoms of Andalucía (Seville, Spain)
  • Vietnam’s Most Delicious Dishes (Hanoi, Vietnam)
  • The Chicago Underground Scavenger Hunt (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Sante Fe Weekend: Art & Tradition (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
  • Cemetery Spirits & Stories: Brave Women (Washington, D.C.)
  • Sailing Sardina’s Hidden Coastlines (Sardina, Italy)
  • Visit New York City’s Oldest Magic Shop After Dark (New York)

For more information, visit the Atlas Obscura Experiences and Adventures category at the Airbnb website here.

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