Travel web service Airbnb raises $112m to fuel global expansion

Travel web service start-up Airbnb has raised $112 million in a new funding round, according to reports, which will be used to fuel its rapid expansion throughout the world.


Based in San Francisco, Airbnb was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky. It works as a travel network by pairing travelers with locals willing to rent out their homes for a fee.


Since its launch, more than two million bookings have gone through the Airbnb system, ranging from a night in a flat to a stint on a yacht.


Last month, it was revealed the company was preparing to close a $100 million funding round, led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which could raise the company’s valuation to more than $1 billion.


Airbnb has raised $112 million in a deal that values the company’s equity at $1.3 billion. Venture capital firms Digital Sky Technologies and General Capitalist participated in the funding, in addition to Andreessen Horowitz.


The company says it will use the funds to expand into global markets, namely Europe and Brazil. This includes acquisitions – earlier this year Airbnb acquired a small German company called Acceleo, which offers a similar service.


Airbnb is preparing to open offices worldwide, make further acquisitions and hire employees familiar with local markets.


Chesky told the UK’s Financial Times the company needs to be “all over the world”.


“To have a deep understanding of every country is not possible. You have to hire citizens of the world; people in all different markets,” Chesky said.


Airbnb already has a strong presence in Australia, including the recent appointment of its first Australia-based employee Matthew Ho, who will focus on signing up new properties and users.


Ho, who could not be reached for comment, wrote in a blog post the company is working on a number of local initiatives, including sponsoring Startup Weekend in Sydney later in the year.


However, Airbnb faces local competition from Wimdu, a German-based company recently dubbed “the world’s largest start-up”.


Wimdu, which matches travelers with people looking to rent out rooms or properties, has been rolled out in 65 countries and has received $90 million in funding.


Founded by brothers Marc and Oliver Samwer, Wimdu already has a staff of 15 in Sydney and Melbourne, headed by national chief executive Gregory Green.


“The goal is for Wimdu to be in every country and Australia is seen as a gateway to South East Asia. It’s a very important market,” Green told StartupSmart.


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