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On the outside, Airbnb is getting more visionary, but we're still unclear about its profitability
One of the biggest unicorns in the world just got bigger.
Airbnb has secured $850 million in a new round of funding, according to a July 28 filing provided by secondary stock market Equidate.
Sources say the new round values Airbnb at $30 billion, a 17.6 percent increase over the $25.5 billion valuation ascribed to the company when it raised its massive $1.5 billion funding round last summer.
I reached out to Airbnb to confirm the new funding and valuation, but they’re not commenting at this time.
Though the Equidate filing doesn’t say who participated in the most recent round, we do know who participated in Airbnb’s previous rounds. In total, the company had previously raised nearly $2.3 billion in equity from Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, General Atlantic, Hillhouse Capital Group, Sequoia Capital, and Tiger Global Management.
Furthermore, Airbnb in June secured a $1 billion debt facility in a deal led by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup, and Bank of America Corp., plus participation from Morgan Stanley.
If the new valuation is accurate, Airbnb doesn’t rise in the unicorn ranks, as it’s still the fourth most valuable private company after Uber, Xiaomi, and Didi Chuxing. (Though it will be interesting to note how investors modify their valuations of the two ride-sharing companies, after Didi bought out Uber’s business in China last week.)
While the new round could mean a wide variety of things for Airbnb, it’s generally understood that the funds will help the company continue to put off an initial public offering (IPO), hence planting a bomb in my very prominent prediction #3 for the sharing economy. My prediction was partly based on the fact that in December 2015 we’d confirmed with a source close to the company that it was expecting to be profitable sometime this year. But we haven’t been able to confirm whether that milestone has yet been met.
Like Uber, the other generously-funded and highly valued sharing economy company, Airbnb has been pulling in tons of capital this year to fuel its expansion across the globe as well as into other services beyond home sharing. But Airbnb has also paralleled Uber in its growing, conscious effort to bill itself as the company that cares.
Just a glance at Airbnb’s corporate blog reveals where the company wants to steer the conversation. In a July 20 post, CEO Brian Chesky references race-related shootings across the U.S. and openly states that the company aligns itself with the “Black Lives Matter” movement. This all serves as introduction to the meat of the post, which is to demonstrate that the company is reviewing "every aspect of the Airbnb platform" to make sure it's avoiding discriminatory practices.
Similarly, Airbnb this past Friday (on the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act) announced that it had partnered with the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Voto Latino, and Democracy Works to help encourage people to register to vote.
As Airbnb gets more and more visionary, however, its investors are still wondering when that magical profitability will come. And I’m wondering whether there’s still a chance for an IPO this year. (Probably not.)
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Airbnb.com is the “Ebay of space.” The online marketplace allows anyone from private residents to commercial properties to rent out their extra space. The reputation-based site allows for user reviews, verification, and online transactions, for which Airbnb takes a commission. As of June, 2009, the San Francisco-based company has listings in over 1062 cities in 76 countries.