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Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky: Going Public Is a ‘Two-Year Project’

Polina Marinova

Don't hold your breath for an Airbnb IPO.

Airbnb just closed a billion-dollar funding round, and CEO Brian Chesky said he is no rush to take his home-sharing startup public. "Our investors are very patient," he said at a New York Stock Exchange luncheon on Monday. "We are working on making sure the company is ready to go public."

Chesky said it's a two-year project to get the company IPO-ready, and "we're probably halfway through this project." In other words, Airbnb could potentially consider going public in 2018.

Take this with a grain of salt, however, because Chesky made a similar statement back in 2015. "If we decided we wanted to go public, we'd want to give ourselves a couple years to really prepare, to have that runway," he told Fortune at the time. "I always thought of it as a two-year project. And we won't start thinking of that for at least a year, and maybe two years."

The 35-year-old CEO said remaining private allows the startup to take big bets. In February, Airbnb acquired high-end rental company Luxury Retreats for a reported $300 million in cash and stock. It also finalized a deal last month to buy Tilt, a group payments startup. The recent acquisitions are part of Airbnb's aggressive global expansion plan.

Chesky also announced on Monday that the company will launch a Living Wage Pledge, allowing hosts to advertise that they pay the people who clean their property at least $15 per hour.

"We want to make sure that if we're going to create jobs, they will be good jobs," he said.

Related: How Airbnb Found a Mission--and a Brand

Founded in 2008 as an air mattress bed and breakfast rental platform, Chesky and his team have built Airbnb into a sharing economy behemoth now valued at $31 billion. It is the second most valuable startup after ride-sharing app Uber, which is valued at $69 billion.

Chesky and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick are relatively close, and they reportedly used to have a running dinner date to talk shop. The two sharing-economy pioneers have navigated similar challenges regarding regulations, security, and privacy.

Now, Uber is facing sexual harassment allegations amidst other scandals, and Kalanick has publicly stated he needs "leadership help."

"I think he's doing everything he probably should be at this point," Chesky said of Kalanick. "He's owned up to every problem. Every time there was a challenge that broke out, he apologized. He's owned it, and he seems to have established a step forward."

See original article on Fortune.com

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