The Times of India Group has invested an undisclosed amount in 'uber-style' accommodation platform AirBnB according to its publication the Economic Times.
Airbnb, estimated to be worth over $25 billion (Rs 1.65 lakh crore) in India plans to focus on developing the Indian travel market, while The Times Group will drive awareness of Airbnb accommodation.
The Economic Times reports the partnership will help Airbnb create a truly localised presence for India, by leveraging the Times Group's vast network of media and operational resources, .
The online paper says the alliance was stitched through Times Global Partners, an entity which helps with the launch and expansion of emerging global digital companies in India. This group has also recently partnered with news portal Huffington Post and digital learning player Coursera.
Times Internet, the digital arm of the group, is an investor in Uber. "We are excited to partner with Airbnb to transform the way Indians travel," Times Internet managing director Satyan Gajwani told the Economic Times.
"We will provide support on operations, hiring, strategy and advertising, to make Airbnb's entry and operations in India as effective as possible," he says.
Last year Airbnb appointed Amanpreet Bajaj, cofounder of LetsBuy which was acquired by Flipkart, as country manager for India.
India's outbound travel market is expected to be worth $40 billion by 2020. Airbnb estimates outbound travel from India grew by over 185 per cent in 2015, according to a post on its website.
Airbnb was founded by CEO Brian Chesky, Chief Product Officer Joe Gebbia and CTO Nathan Blecharczyk in 2008. Initially starting out as Airbedandbreakfast, the team targeted cities in the US where big events caused shortage of accommodation.
Since then, Airbnb has expanded to more than 34,000 cities in some 190 countries. The company has raised nearly $2.4 billion in funding from top Silicon Valley VC investors Like Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.
In China, it brought on board China Broadband Capital, Sequoia China and Hillhouse Capital.
"We are excited about the opportunity that India presents, and to have one of the most respected partners in The Times Group," Blecharczyk told the Economic Times.
"We are working on adapting our product for the Indian market so that Indian travelers can live like a local anywhere in the world."
This is AirBnB’s second Indian partnership: in 2012, it launched in India, in partnership with the Springstar incubator, which was helping the company expand internationally.