The IPO market has been hot in 2014, but one company not considering the public markets this year, despite some expectations to the contrary, is sharing economy startup Airbnb.
CTO and co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk confirms to The Daily Ticker in the video interview above there will be no IPO this year.
"Going public is a means, not an end goal," he explains. "It's a way of raising capital, and our company is currently very well capitalized, so there's no need to think about an IPO right now."
Airbnb closed its latest round of funding earlier this month at a $10 billion valuation, surprising to some as it means the travel accommodation platform is worth more than some major hotel chains including Wyndham Worldwide (WYN), valued at $9.2 billion, and Hyatt Hotels (H), at $8.4 billion.
Blecharszyk says the power of the marketplace justifies that valuation. The "real product is the host community." There are 600,000 properties on the site and "doubling each year." Six years ago, this didn't exist, and it will continue to grow, he adds.
Blecharszyk explains how he thinks Airbnb went from its "humble beginning" when the co-founders were just trying to make a little extra money one weekend in 2007, to a success story: by allowing people to monetize their biggest asset, their home.
But the company faces some real challenges, including issues with rentals including reports of prostitutes using them as brothels. The company also faces regulatory roadblocks -- New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman is battling Airbnb in court seeking data about thousands of its renters, while Airbnb had to remove thousands of illegal NY listings from the site after his challenge. Meanwhile, there's a proposal for a ballot measure in San Francisco that would limit short-term rentals and severely curb Airbnb's operations there. Check out the video to see how Blecharszyk responds to these concerns.
He points out that the accommodation industry is regulated city by city, and they operate in 40,000 cities. Blecharszyk says over the last year they have seen some success where cities are changing rules to embrace Airbnb's model and the sharing economy. He points to "positive examples" like Hamburg, Amsterdam and the country of France. Is the bureacracy easier to breakthrough in Europe than the U.S.? "It's a little surprising," he says. "That is what we are finding in the accommodation space."
Forbes reported in March that Airbnb's $10 billion valuation would make its co-founders the first billionaires of the sharing economy (if and when they cash out at that valuation, at least). So is Blecharszyk now a billionaire and what does he think of that? See his response in the video.
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