Airbnb, the home-sharing website that has revolutionized the way we lodge, is gearing up to join other sharing economy startups as a publicly-traded company.
In a brief statement on its website 19 September, Airbnb announced it plans to list on the stock exchange during 2020.
Recent sharing economy IPOs have been a dud
The announcement comes at a precarious time for sharing economy startups. Both Uber and Lyft had IPOs this year and since then shares have largely struggled. The We Company, the startup behind WeWork office spaces is postponing its IPO after investors showed little interest in its offering.
Although Airbnb hasn't said how it plans to list shares, according to media reports it's likely to launch a direct-listing in which no new shares are issued as part of the offering. It's designed to save the company in underwriting fees charged by the big Wall Street banks.
Airbnb reports more than $1 billion in second-quarter revenue
The same fate that happened to Uber and Lyft may not bestow Airbnb since the company has been able to show better financial management than some of the other sharing economy startups. In a blog post 18 September Airbnb said revenue in the second quarter exceeded $1 billion, marking the second quarter in its history that revenue surpasses $ 1billion.
The company said hosts earned more than $80 billion sharing homes on Airbnb as of 15 September and that there are now 7 million listings in over 100 cities on the platform. That, said Airbnb, amounts to more listing than the eight largest hotel groups' combined rooms. Back in 2011, it had listings in 12 cities and now it's in close to 1,000 cities.
"The global scope of the Airbnb community has expanded dramatically in recent years," Airbnb said in the business update. "In the past year, more than 300 cities have welcomed over 100,000 guest arrivals at Airbnb listings, including cities like Bandung, Indonesia; Cuernavaca, Mexico; Sofia, Bulgaria; Ubatuba, Brazil; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2011, only one city had welcomed over 100,000 Airbnb guest arrivals."