Sharing economy giant Airbnb has confirmed a $US1.5 billion ($2 billion) funding round, making it the world’s third-most valuable privately held tech company.
The equity offering was first rumoured five months ago when Airbnb’s value was estimated at more than $25 billion.
Only rideshare giant Uber and Chinese phone company Xiaomi are bigger, valued at $US62.5 billion and $US45 billion respectively.
Re/code reports Airbnb’s lead investors in this round are General Atlantic, Hillhouse Capital Group and Tiger Global Management, with the sizeable sum set to help the accommodation platform channel resources into emerging markets like China.
The funding comes in spite of conflicts between Airbnb and mayoral offices in New York and San Francisco.
But there’s no sign of bureaucratic resistance here in Australia where Victoria’s tourism office has partnered with the accommodation rental service to encourage tourism in Melbourne’s middle and outer suburbs.
The Age reports that the partnership will see Tourism Victoria and Airbnb work together on several websites to promote areas in Melbourne not frequented by visitors to the city.
The startup’s Australian manager Sam McDonagh told the paper joint print and television campaigns could also follow.
“We have always worked pretty closely with government,” McDonagh said.
“Obviously it’s early days but we’re working with them where we can.
“These guides will include maps, customised photography and local editorial – things to see and do, as well as tips from Airbnb hosts about great local business to go to.”