As AllThingsD Draws to a Close, Here Are Some Staff Highlights — Part One: Kafka, Hesseldahl, Gannes

How can you miss us if we won’t go away?
so_long_farewell

General Catalyst Raises $675M Seventh Fund

The venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners has raised $675 million for its seventh fund to invest in startups.
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Filling Out Its Executive Team, Airbnb Hires Operations and HR Heads

Airbnb has hired Varsha Rao as head of global operations, and Mark Levy as head of employee experience.
Varsha Rao and Mark Levy

Europe’s BlaBlaCar Has Created the Purest Version of the Sharing Economy So Far — And It’s Working

BlaBlaCar, the Paris-based long-distance ride-sharing marketplace, now has a million active monthly users.
blablacar

News Byte

Uber Will Vouch for Its Drivers to Help Them Finance GM and Toyota Cars

In an effort to boost the supply of cars in its system, Uber will help potential and current drivers finance cars from General Motors and Toyota in six of its 60 cities worldwide. The company says it has secured lower financing rates than the market standard, due to the near-guarantee of revenue generated via its ride-hailing service. It’s not exactly the same thing, but Airbnb also said recently that it plans to help its hosts buy smartphones so they can better manage their listings.

Airbnb Is Good for Lonely People, Says Barry Diller

Airbnb is primarily additive. I don’t think it’s stealing much share from urban hotels. I think it’s serving people who didn’t travel because they were scared, or couldn’t afford it, or use it because it’s an antidote to loneliness. A room in someone’s house is not as valuable as a room at the Helmsley.

IAC’s Barry Diller, whose portfolio includes both Expedia and Match.com, talking to Bloomberg Businessweek

Airbnb Launches New Host Tools, in Bid to Be Known for Its Hospitality

While being careful not to imply that they currently do a bad job, Airbnb is now giving hosts a set of new tools and best practices.
Airbnb's host tools now include groups for them to swap tips.

In New York Fight, Airbnb Says It Has Proof That Hosts Rent Out Their Own Homes

The question is exactly how peer-driven Airbnb is, or whether it’s just another site for professional rental agencies to find more business.
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HomeAway Tests New Rental Booking Option

“I know we lose a lot of customers who want to give it a try,” said HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples.
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News Byte

Airbnb Files Objection to New York User Data Subpoena

The peer accommodation marketplace Airbnb responded today to what could be one of the more serious regulatory threats to its business so far: The New York State attorney general subpoenaing user data in an attempt to root out illegal hosts. The company filed a motion in the New York State Supreme Court objecting to the broadness of the demands, it said. The good thing for Airbnb is that protecting user data is pretty trendy right now.

Here Is Airbnb’s First Television Ad

Airbnb Will Fight in New York City