Two innovative companies are teaming up to try to tap into each other's customer bases.
Airbnb and SolarCity announced a partnership Tuesday that will give rebates to new customers who already use the other's services. Airbnb users will get $1,000 off a solar installation, while SolarCity customers will get a $100 travel voucher for becoming an Airbnb host. The companies revealed the partnership during a joint conference call.
The SolarCity rebate drops to $750 after March 2017 and will remain in effect till the end of the year.
The deal comes at a time when SolarCity's future is in the spotlight. Tesla is less than a month away from a November 17 shareholder vote that will determine whether Elon Musk's electric car company will complete a $2.6 billion deal to acquire SolarCity, which Musk co-founded in 2006. Musk's cousin, Lyndon Rive, is SolarCity's CEO.
SolarCity positioned the deal as a means of tapping into the Millennial market, which has embraced Airbnb in a huge way since it was founded in 2008. Airbnb currently has more than 100 million users worldwide. A recent securities filing revealed the company was valued at $30 billion in its most recent funding round, which is up to $555 million and could reach as much as $850 million by the time it's complete.
SolarCity, meanwhile, has completed 285,000 installations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The room for growth is huge: A mere 1 percent of U.S. energy consumption comes from solar.
Tesla's potential acquisition of SolarCity has been widely panned by both industry-watchers and shareholders. Neither company is currently profitable, and the November 17 vote has been delayed several times because of shareholder lawsuits against the company regarding the deal. Musk maintains that the merger is necessary to achieve his vision of widely adopted solar-powered homes and cars, which could have a positive environmental impact.
SolarCity is in the process of developing solar roofs that look like traditional roofs and don't require the addition of unsightly paneling. Musk is expected to unveil the new solar roofs at an event scheduled for October 28, less than three months after he first hinted at them. The entrepreneur has said he'll also reveal the second iteration of the Powerwall home battery at that event.
SolarCity president of global sales Toby Corey teased those reveals during Tuesday's call. "I think what Elon's going to announce at the end of the month is going to be extraordinary and transformational," he said. He joked that he couldn't offer more information because he wants to keep his job.
Corey also added that the company would be operating "business as usual" up to and through the date of the shareholder vote.
Airbnb head of global policy Chris Lehane said that a survey revealed 50 percent of its users consider environmental impact when traveling.
SolarCity and Tesla have been in the midst of a flurry of announcements leading up to the shareholder vote. On Sunday, Tesla revealed it was partnering with Panasonic to make solar panels at the latter company's Buffalo, New York, factory. The deal is contingent on Tesla's acquisition of SolarCity.
And earlier this month, Musk tweeted that Tesla would be making an "unexpected" product announcement. That unveiling was originally scheduled for Monday but has been pushed out to Wednesday.