May 19, 2020

Airbnb is set to enter the luxury rental market

Luxury Retreats Founder and CEO Joe Poulin
Brian Chesky Airbnb
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre
Catherine Rowell
2 min
Airbnb is set to enter the luxury rental market

It has recently been announced that Airbnb has won the acquisition for Montreal-based company Luxury Retreats for an undisclosed figure, beating competitors such as Expedia and Accor. The acquisition will help diversify Airbnb’s services and movement into the luxury rental sector and target base, with wealthy clientele accessing its services.

In a recent press release, Airbnb have stated that “Luxury Retreats offers high-quality listings, world class concierge service and a range of amenities and the acquisition will complement Airbnb’s work to provide a variety of homes and experiences to travelers, particularly those visiting traditional vacation destinations.”

The move will see CEO of Luxury Retreats Joe Poulin join Airbnb and will lead the company’s luxury division. The company will remain in Montreal, as its property listings appear on Airbnb’s website. Luxury Retreats has over 4,000 property listings worldwide to add to Airbnb’s 3 million options in over 60,000 cities, perfect for travel seekers who wish to go to a number of up-market destinations. Poulin said, “Brian’s vision, values and approach mirror what Luxury Retreats has been focused on in the luxury market since 1999.  We are thrilled to join the Airbnb family with a continued commitment of delivering quality, luxury travel experiences.”

With a similar background of building their businesses up from scratch, the merger will provide vital experience and expertise within the holiday rental sector and will secure their position within the market, with plans for future expansion. Long-term planning will diversify their services and invest in talent both in Canada and in the US. It will also encourage further entrepreneurs to build on their growing business models.

“Montreal is known as an innovative city that is looking forward,” said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre. “I’m pleased that a large company like Airbnb has chosen to invest in Montreal by their investment in Luxury Retreats and that its activities will continue to be based here. This proves that Montreal, as a large metropolis, is open to the sharing economy when it is done correctly. Having recently met Brian Chesky and Joe Poulin, I am convinced that they will find in Montreal an ideal place to invest and continue their activities.”

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May 14, 2021

Dark Wolf: accelerating security for USAF

U.S Air Force
Dark Wolf Solutions
Paddy Smith
2 min
Dark Wolf Solutions is small and agile, its partnership with the US Air Force is helping to deliver critical security faster and better than ever before

As a small company whose biggest customers are the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, Dark Wolf Solutions (Dark Wolf) is a triple-threat, specializing in Cybersecurity, Software and DevOps, and Management Solutions. Dark Wolf secures and tests cloud platforms, develops and deploys applications, and offers consultancy services performing system engineering, system integration, and mission support.

The break for Dark Wolf came when the Department of Defense decided to explore software factories. Rick Tossavainen, Dark Wolf’s CEO, thinks it was an inspired path for the DoD to take. “It was a really great decision,” he says, “Let’s pull our people together as part of this digital transformation and recreate what Silicon Valley startup firms typically have. Let’s get into commercial facilities where we have open windows and big whiteboards and just promote ideation and collaboration. And it creates this collaborative environment where people start creating things much more rapidly than before.”

It has been, Tossavainen says, “amazing to watch” and has energized the Federal Contracting Sector with an influx of new talent and improved working environments that foster creativity and innovative ways of approaching traditional problems.

“We originally started working with the US Air Force about three years ago. The problem was at the time you could develop all the software you wanted but you couldn’t get it into production – you had to go through the traditional assessment and authorization process. I talked to Lauren Knausenberger and she told me about Kessel Run and what eventually came out of this was the DoD’s first continuous ATO [Authority To Operate].”

The secret to Dark Wolf’s success – and its partnerships with USAF and Space Force – lies in a client-first attitude. “We’re not looking to maximise revenue,” Tossavainen explains. “We tell all of our employees, if you’re ever faced with an issue and you don’t know how to resolve it, and one solution is better for the customer and the second is better for Dark Wolf, you always do number one. We’ve just got to take care of our customers, and I look for other partners that want to do that. And let’s work together so that we can bring them the best answer we can.”

Rapid releases and constant evolution of software are common themes among USAF’s partners. Like many firms operating in the commercial and public sector spaces, Dark Wolf leads with a DevSecOps approach.

“Failure is tolerated,” says Tossavainen. “If it’s not going the right way in three months, let’s adjust. Let’s rapidly change course. And you can tell really quickly if something’s going to be successful or not, because they’re doing deployments multiple times a day – to the customer.”

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