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The Year of the IPO Continues as Airbnb Announces Wall Street Plans for 2020

The Year of the IPO Continues as Airbnb Announces Wall Street Plans for 2020

Home-sharing company Airbnb Inc. said Thursday it plans to go public in 2020.

It’s a long-awaited move for the San Francisco company, which was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, who needed some extra cash so they put air mattresses on their apartment floor and charged $80 per night.

Since then, Airbnb has grown into one of the largest home-sharing platforms. The company said earlier this week it has more than 7 million listings in 100,000 cities worldwide.

Airbnb also said it made “substantially more than” $1 billion in revenue in the second quarter of this year, the second time in its history that revenue topped $1 billion. It didn’t reveal its profits. The company’s last private valuation in 2017 came in at $31 billion, according to PitchBook.

Details are still scant regarding how Airbnb plans to list their shares, and no one at the company would confirm if it has filed it’s S-1 IPO paperwork yet, according to Business Insider. A Reuters report in June said it was considering a direct listing.

Investors may be cautious after some big IPO flops this year. The ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft debuted on the market earlier this year, but they continue to lose money and both are trading well below their IPO prices. WeWork, which runs shared office spaces, delayed its IPO earlier this week.

Kathleen Smith, a principal with Renaissance Capital, said the difference for Airbnb could be its profitability. Companies that are struggling in the markets have had trouble showing investors a path to profitability, she said. But the overall IPO market is performing well. The Renaissance Capital IPO investment fund is tracking 30% higher than the S&P 500 this year thanks to strong performers like Pinterest and Beyond Meat.

Airbnb has spent the last several years broadening its offerings in advance of an expected IPO. In May, it bought Hotel Tonight to help guests find last-minute hotel deals. In 2017, it acquired Luxury Retreats in order to raise the level of its accommodations. And it has been adding “experiences” to its platform so guests can book local tours, cooking classes and other activities.

But Airbnb has faced some backlash in places like New York and Barcelona, Spain, where it has been accused of encouraging over-tourism and raising rents because it takes living spaces off the market.

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