Is Airbnb the Second Most Valuable Startup in America?
Despite an onslaught of legal battles that are threatening to limit its access in certain cities, Airbnb is stronger than ever. The New York Times reports that the apartment-renting platform is close to raising a round of funding at a $30 billion valuation, which would make it the second most valuable startup in the country behind only Uber, which is currently valued at a whopping $62.5 billion.
According to sources close to the company, Airbnb has its sights set on major global expansion. That includes services beyond the home rentals it’s become synonymous with. Just imagine you can use Airbnb to not only book a beautiful villa for a weekend in San Sebastian, but to also book reservations for all your planned activities that weekend, including boat cruises, museum visits, and, of course, restaurants. Essentially, Airbnb wants to become something of a virtual concierge, an evolution that would strengthen its direct assault on its main competitor—hotels.
Airbnb currently has 2 million listings in over 200 countries but would like to grow its presence in places like Cuba while increasing its popularity among Chinese tourists. The company is also involved in a legal battle with the state of New York, which wants to restrict Airbnb’s ability to operate within state lines. The company also just launched a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco after it passed a law requiring anyone who plans on renting their apartment through the site to register their property with the city. If they fail to do so, Airbnb will be fined $1000 per day. In other words, it could really use those $30 billion.
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