Airbnb’s gradual move towards what seems an inevitable decision to go public has remained a closely guarded secret – until now.
Earlier this month, Airbnb revealed another major round of investment, with $1bn tipping the company over its previous valuation of $30bn.
There was chatter that this could help push Airbnb into its destined IPO but those rumours flittered away rather quickly.
Since it was founded in 2008 by Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, the company has brought its total funding to nearly $5bn.
A 2017 float was dismissed but now Chesky, chief executive of the company, has revealed all.
Speaking yesterday at an Economic Club of New York event, Chesky said the company thinking is pretty clear, and a two-year plan is well underway.
“We are working on making sure the company is ready to go public, and I’ve said it was a two-year project,” he said.
“We’re probably about halfway through that project, as far as just being ready to go public. But at that point, our investors are very patient. None of them are anxiously waiting for us to go public,” he said.
Pencilling 2018 into your IPO diary is perhaps a little too solid a move though, as Chesky warned that he has seen many companies fail after floating too soon.
Until then, expect Airbnb to continue to shift its focus into a growing number of complementary services.
The Airbnb portfolio of tools has expanded in the past few months into areas such as tourism, whereby people planning to visit a particular area of a city can book ‘experiences’ through the website.
These include tickets to music gigs or yoga sessions, which can be booked in the same way that a user would reserve accommodation.
Airbnb has even created companies in its wake such as Airsorted, the brainchild of London-based entrepreneur James Jenkins-Yates, who became an Airbnb host after leaving a well-paid job in finance.