Honestly, the idea behind Airbnb makes me really uncomfortable. I barely like having people I know in my place when I'm there, forget about trusting strangers when I'm not around. I read stories like this and it freaks me out to think just what someone might do to my place, and to my stuff.
I seem to be in the minority here, though, because the service has become incredibly popular over the last few years. It took Airbnb four years to serve its first four million guests, and then another five million in just a few months.
And now it looks to be raising a gigantic new funding round, at an astounding valuation.
The the online home-rental company is in "advanced talks" to raise a new round worth between $400 million and $500 million, according to a report out from the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Private-equity firm TPG is said to be leading the round.
If true, the new round would bring the company's value to more than $10 billion. It would also more than double Airbnb's previous fundings put together.
Airbnb has raised $326 million altogether at a $2.5 billion valuation, including a $117 million Series B round from Andreessen Horowitz, DST Global and General Catalyst and, most recently, a $200 million Series C round from Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst Partners, Crunchfund, Ashton Kutcher, and Founders Fund in 2012.
This latest round would bring Airbnb’s total funding to between $726 million and $826 million, and place it among the world's most valuable startups.
How much money Airbnb makes has not been divulged, but private company analyst Privco has estimated Airbnb’s 2012 revenue to be $189 million. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter forecasted at the beginning of last year that it won’t be long before Airbnb is pulling in $1 billion in revenue per year.
Since its founding in 2008, Airbnb has served more than 11 million total guests. In now operates in over 34,000 cities in 192 countries and has over 600,000 listings around the world.
Recently, the company has been looking to expand beyond ts current room rental service and into more hospitality services. In January it announced that it was piloting a cleaning service in certain zip codes of San Francisco and New York City, where hosts can arrange a cleaning of their listing prior to a guest’s check-in.
The cleanings are arranged by Handybook and Homejoy, and the cost of the cleaning service is taken from the renter's payout for the reservation.
(Image source: mobile-patterns.com)