Member Spotlight: Andrew Vilcsak, Engineering Manager at Airbnb
A mobile engineering manager and the fourth engineering hire, Andrew Vilcsak has spent the past four years helping Airbnb become the huge success that it now is: a company now covering over 34,000 cities in 190 countries and with a massive $10 billion valuation (a number well beyond that from some established hotel chains like Wyndham Worldwide or Hyatt.) Andrew’s position at Airbnb has allowed him to work on apps that are used by hundreds of thousands of people every month (over 15,000,000 as of 2014). Through his work as a mobile developer, Andrew has facilitated travel experiences and helped bring new sources of income for “hosts” --- people who list their residences online for “guests” who book them.
Founded in August of 2008, Airbnb is now the trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. According to Andrew, Airbnb’s success on the mobile and desktop platforms is due to the consistency in the design and user experience.
“We’re seeing an increasing trend whereby folks that list their places on Airbnb jump back and forth between our mobile and desktop platforms,” says Vilcsak. “That’s why we work very hard to provide the same functionality that people see on mobile or web, specifically catered to the platform that they’re using. With this approach, we’ve seen significant mobile traffic growth: from 8% to over 35% in the past two years.”
THE MOBILE FRONTIER
Mobile usage is at an all-time high, according to a report by BI intelligence. U.S. consumers now dedicate one-fifth of their media consumption time to mobile. Andrew says this is bound to continue. As the person in charge of Airbnb’s mobile experience, he also spends time thinking about what Airbnb could look like in another two years.
“It’s hard to prognosticate what the future of mobile will be,” he says, “but there is an interesting frontier opening up with wearable devices such as the Google Glass, and the Samsung Smart Watch, for example.”
HIS CONNECTION TO FUNDERSCLUB
In addition to his work as a mobile developer, Andrew is also a startup investor and a FundersClub Panel Member who helps conduct due diligence and screen potential investment opportunities. To date, he has invested in three companies via the FundersClub platform: Coinbase, Instacart and Anyperk. He says the low investment minimums and wide variety of investments attracted him to join.
Andrew says he invested in Instacart, which recently raised a $44M Series B led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Sequoia Capital, because of the intelligence behind the mobile app that the Instacart shoppers use --- Instacart is using mobile technology to efficiently route their shoppers within the stores they visit.
He also says he invested in Bitcoin wallet startup Coinbase (which also raised a $25M Series B from Andreessen Horowitz last year after raising funds via FundersClub), and in employee perk startup Anyperk because of the strong CEOs and leadership teams whom he was able to get to know through the FundersClub platform.
“FundersClub is a platform with a constant availability of very strong deals. As a Panel Member, I also have a sort of finger on the pulse of the Valley and beyond, and get to see the sort of startups that are just beginning to pick up momentum.”
The FundersClub Spotlight Series features notable entrepreneurs, investors and members from our community who are making a big impact in the startup world. Their stories highlight their extraordinary passion, determination and commitment to disrupt industries, and to help launch products or services that positively impact people’s lives.