Airbnb, the global behemoth of the short-stay tech space, has finally gone public, with its share price spiking a massive 115% on its first day of trading.
It seems as though Airbnb has been hinting at an IPO for years. And, while the eventual float follows a tough year for the business, it also comes amid a flurry of tech businesses going public for the first time.
From humble beginnings more than 12 years ago, here’s a brief history of how Airbnb went from a scrappy startup to a US$100 billion business.
Back in 2007, founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia famously rented out an airbed on their living room floor to make some extra cash, effectively hosting the first-ever Airbnb guests and sparking the idea that would revolutionise the way we holiday.
Soon, Nathan Blecharczyk came on board as the third co-founder.
AirBedAndBreakfast.com launched. That has a ring to it, don’t you think?
To get their idea off the ground, the founders raised $30,000 by selling Obama O’s and Cap’n McCains cereal boxes.
The fledgling startup was accepted into the prestigious Y Combinator startup accelerator program, receiving $20,000 in additional funding.
The team made the wise decision to rebrand to the Airbnb we know today. By then, it was starting to gain some traction, with about 2,500 listings and 10,000 registered users.
The startup secured US$615,000 in seed funding from Y Ventures and Sequoia Capital
The founders secure US$7.2 million in funding, adding a host of additional backers, including Greylock Partners. At this stage, it reportedly had a valuation of $70 million.
Airbnb reached the milestone of 1 million bookings made through the platform.
Shortly afterwards, it acquired a Hamburg-based competitor, effectively expanding into Germany.
The business raised a massive $115 million, from existing and new investors.
Airbnb opens its second office, in London.
The platform hit the 5 million bookings mark. It later announced it was expanding to six additional European cities: Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Moscow and São Paulo.
Within six months, the total number of bookings doubled to 10 million.
The cash kept rolling in, this time with a $200 million Series C round.
Airbnb’s Series D came in at just shy of $520 million, giving the startup a valuation of US$10.5 billion
San Francisco’s so-called Airbnb Law came into effect, officially legalising short-term rentals.
Another fresh funding round. This time, Airbnb secured $1.5 billion, giving it a valuation of $25.5 billion.
Airbnb launches its ‘experiences’ feature, allowing hosts to offer tours and events, as well as places to stay.
The business settles a lengthy lawsuit with New York City, over proposed rules that would make it illegal for Airbnb to show homes being rented out illegally. Ultimately, the city agreed any fines would fall to the hosts, not the platform.
After a few years of steady growth for Airbnb, COVID-19 brought international travel to a grinding halt, and put domestic trips on hold for a period too.
Airbnb postponed its much-anticipated IPO and laid off 25% of its staff — about 1,900 employees.
Revenues were reportedly down to $2.52 billion for the nine months ending September 2019, down from $4.81 billion in the whole of 2019.
Airbnb also reported losses of $696.9 million during that time, compared to losses of $322.8 million in the same period last year.
An emergency $2 billion debt funding round also reportedly saw the tech company’s valuation dip from $31 billion to $18 billion.
After a tricky year, Airbnb finally listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange.
The share price was initially valued at US$68, but fierce initial bidding meant it started trading at $150.
By the end of the trading day, it was sitting comfortably at $144.7, giving it a market valuation of more than US$100 billion.
That’s reportedly more than the valuation of the seven largest US hotel chains, combined.