Airbnb is reportedly in talks to raise up to $500 million at a $10 billion valuation, which would make it worth slightly more than publicly held Expedia.
The six-year-old San Francisco start-up epitomizes the sharing economy, by allowing people to rent out unused rooms in their home — or entire islands and castles — to anyone looking for a place to crash.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the funding negotiations, detailing that private equity firm TPG is likely to lead the round. If successful, Airbnb will become one of the richest young tech companies around.
Based on the most recent information available, Airbnb operates in 192 countries and has more than 600,000 current listings. Hosts set a nightly rate, and Airbnb collects a percentage of the payment. It does not disclose its revenues.
While being able to raise that kind of loot is impressive, Airbnb will be under the gun to find a lucrative way of investing the cash to create enough value for investors when it exits. One challenge that it faces — which will no doubt be expensive — is the company’s fights with public officials, who are asking whether it is violating local regulations.
These setbacks are common for companies in the sharing economy, with other start-ups, like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar facing increased scrutiny around the globe.
The sheer size of the round makes this deal outstanding, but what’s potentially more startling is how Airbnb will rank among its publicly held peers once the deal is compete (of course, negotiations can always break down and the deal may never materialize).
Check out how a $10 billion valuation compares to some of the leading hotel chains and booking sites’ current market caps:
— Expedia: $9.8 billion.
— HomeAway: $3.9 billion.
— Wyndham Worldwide: $9.3 billion.
— Hyatt Hotels: $8.43 billion.
— Priceline: $68.6 billion.
— Orbitz: $878 million.