The hospitality and travel industry may be reeling, but Airbnb is still doing what it can to support the global effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus causing a worldwide pandemic. The company announced today that it will provide “free or subsidized housing” for 100,000 people working as frontline healthcare, relief for first response professionals focused on stemming the COVID-19 crisis.
Airbnb’s effort will work by allowing Hosts on its platform to opt-in to making their space available, with any fees that Airbnb would normally charge for using its platform waived for those who participate. The program will include new protocols around cleanliness that are designed to keep spaces safe for those workers who use it, and Airbnb will be working with the Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee, the International Medical Corps and other non-profit groups to help allocated space where it’s needed most.
Already, Airbnb had been operating smaller scale programs in both Italy and France to address the crises there, with 6,000 hosts across both countries making their spaces available. This extended program was partly the result of many requests from hosts to the platform about how they could volunteer their spaces and help with the effort, and Airbnb will be making it possible for hosts to offer their spaces for free if they want – though even those who still want to participate but keep a stay charge in place won’t be charged any fees by Airbnb itself.
The advanced cleaning protocols that Airbnb has put in place are developed to align with guidance from leading national health authorities, including the CDC in the U.S., and Airbnb says they will evolve as updated guidance becomes available. Some of the enhanced rules to help try to ensure safety include guidance that there should be a minimum of 72 hours between stays, as well as maintaining proper social distancing between hosts and any guests.
Airbnb also has a fund established for those who want to provide monetary support, with 100 percent of all proceeds going to nonprofits working on COVID-19 relief. These funds will help further subsidize housing costs for any responders in the case of hosts making housing available at a fee.
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If you’ve ever entered a company’s office as a visitor or contractor, you probably know the routine: check in with a receptionist, figure out who invited you, print out a badge and get on your merry way. Brussels, Belgium- and New York-based Proxyclick aims to streamline this process, while also helping businesses keep their people and assets secure. As the company announced today, it has raised a $15 million Series B round led by Five Elms Capital, together with previous investor Join Capital.
In total, Proxyclick says it’s systems have now been used to register over 30 million visitors in 7,000 locations around the world. In the UK alone, over 1,000 locations use the company’s tools. Current customers include L’Oreal, Vodafone, Revolut, PepsiCo and Airbnb, as well as a number of other Fortune 500 firms.
Gregory Blondeau, founder and CEO of Proxyclick, stresses that the company believes that paper logbooks, which are still in use in many companies, are simply not an acceptable solution anymore, not in the least because that record is often permanent and visible to other visitors.
“We all agree it is not acceptable to have those paper logbooks at the entrance where everyone can see previous visitors,” he said. “It is also not normal for companies to store visitors’ digital data indefinitely. We already propose automatic data deletion in order to respect visitor privacy. In a few weeks, we’ll enable companies to delete sensitive data such as visitor photos sooner than other data. Security should not be an excuse to exploit or hold visitor data longer than required.”
What also makes Proxyclick stand out from similar solutions is that it integrates with a lot of existing systems for access control (including C-Cure and Lenel systems). With that, users can ensure that a visitor only has access to specific parts of a building, too.
In addition, though, it also supports existing meeting rooms, calendaring and parking systems and integrates with Wi-Fi credentialing tools so your visitors don’t have to keep asking for the password to get online.
Like similar systems, Proxyclick provides businesses with a tablet-based sign-in service that also allows them to get consent and NDA signatures right during the sign-in process. If necessary, the system can also compare the photos it takes to print out badges with those on a government-issued ID to ensure your visitors are who they say they are.
Blondeau noted that the whole industry is changing, too. “Visitor management is becoming mainstream, it is transitioning from a local, office-related subject handled by facility managers to a global, security and privacy driven priority handled by Chief Information Security Officers. Scope, decision drivers and key people involved are not the same as in the early days,” he said.
It’s no surprise then that the company plans to use the new funding to accelerate its roadmap. Specifically, it’s looking to integrate its solution with more third-party systems with a focus on physical security features and facial recognition, as well as additional new enterprise features.
Party on, startuppers. We’ve just printed up a fresh batch of tickets to our 3rd Annual Winter Party at Galvanize in San Francisco on February 7. If you haven’t snagged yours yet, don’t wait, because tickets to this event fly off the proverbial shelf. Buy your ticket right now.
Our annual winter soiree features 1,000 of Silicon Valley’s brightest minds, makers and visionaries relaxing over passed canapes and delightful libations. It’s the perfect way to meet your colleagues, expand your network, shake off the winter blues and just have some fun.
Let’s face it — networking works better in a relaxed setting. You never know who you’ll meet at a TechCrunch party — it might be a relationship that takes your business to new heights. Our parties have a history of creating startup magic.
We’re not kidding when we say this is a popular event. Case in point: Our demo table packages sold out in a flash. As you swill and chill, be sure to check out the up-and-coming startups showcasing their tech. We have a limited number of tickets left, and they’re going fast.
In addition to networking, comradery and great food and drink, our Winter Party comes replete with party games, activities and photo ops. Bring your best karaoke chops and impress the crowd. Oh, and no TechCrunch party is complete without door prizes, TC swag and a chance to win tickets to Disrupt SF, our flagship event coming in September 2020.