Billion Dollar Unicorns: Airbnb Delays IPO Plans, Again

Those waiting for Airbnb to go public will need to wait some more. Earlier this year, the Billion Dollar Unicorn player announced that it had no plans of listing this year. It is focused on improving its business and financial model.

Airbnb’s Financials

Airbnb does not disclose too many details about its financials. But it has revealed that 2017 was a good year. Revenues for the company came in at $2.7 billion and it ended with a profit of $93 million.

The company remains venture funded with $4.4 billion from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Ashton Kutcher, Baillie Gifford, China Broadband Capital, CrunchFund, Dragoneer Investment Group, DST Global, Elad Gil, Fidelity Investments, FirstMark Capital, Founders Fund, General Atlantic, Anton Levy, General Catalyst Partners, Joel Cutler, GGV Capital, Glenn Solomon, and Greylock Partners. Its latest round of funding was held in March last year when it raised $1 billion at a valuation of $31 billion.

Airbnb has been profitable over the last two years, primarily due to the strict fiscal management policies deployed by its former CFO Laurence Tosi. Laurence, a former Blackstone Group CFO, has kept spending in check and the management focused on traditional concepts of revenues and earnings. Reports suggest that he also improved Airbnb’s financial position by managing a hedge-fund style investment fund for Airbnb with stocks, currencies, and other investments that contributed as much as 30% of the company’s cash flow. However, earlier this year, due to differences between him and CEO Brian Chesky, Laurence exited the organization. His departure has further delayed the listing of the company. Airbnb wants to go public on “its own timetable.” It is no rush to list as it has $5.5 billion in cash and equivalents and is already profitable.

Airbnb’s Growth Offerings

Airbnb wants to change the way the world travels. As part of this initiative, it recently launched a new Stories feature to a beta group of users. The Stories feature allows users to share among friends and followers videos, photos, and text overlays to express experiences. The concept is not new and has been used by several other social media companies like Snapchat and Instagram. It has been adapted widely by the users of the social media engines and Airbnb is hopeful of generating similar interest for the service for its offerings. Currently, the feature is available only on the iPhone app. It selects videos from the user’s phone to build 10 second streams that can be edited on the Airbnb app. The feature will help keep the users more engaged with each other and with the app.

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Sramana Mitra is the founder of One Million by One Million (1M/1M), a global virtual incubator that aims to help one million entrepreneurs ...

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