Yesterday saw the first day of trading on shares of the vacation rental marketplace giant Airbnb. After a turbulent 2020 which saw emergency capital raising, redundancies and a tweak to its business model, the San Francisco-based company took the bold decision in August to go ahead with its long mooted IPO which finally went ahead yesterday as its stock floated on the NASDAQ.
In the run-up to yesterday’s public debut, the company upped its valuation to $33 billion and then again to $42 billion at the start of this week with the result being that shares of Airbnb were set to $68 per share for the eagerly anticipated debut yesterday. In the event, when the freshly minted shares did start trading in New York, they did so at $138 dollars and went as high as $165 at one point with CEO Brian Chesky visibly stunned on live TV as a reporter relayed the news of the incredible price to him.
The immense investor interest and price surge mean that Airbnb’s market cap is now over $100 billion with the company having been valued at as little as $18 billion back in April. Zoopla owner Silver Lake, which plunged money into the flailing vacation rental company during its emergency funding round in April, and other Airbnb investors in the VC world such as Sequoia Capital are now heralding bumper years having been staring down the barrel of significant losses in the Spring. The Airbnb IPO comes at a time of great excitement for PropTech stocks. Even Softbank, which had invested heavily in WeWork and was facing potential losses of $2 billion earlier in the year, is looking at significant upside with its investment in OpenDoor and Doordash.
Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Chesky maintained that Airbnb would be using the funds raised from his company’s IPO prudently and that investors shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the vacation market was still very much “in a storm”.
“We’re going to be very prudent and very thoughtful about our investment, especially in a world of a huge amount of uncertainty, which is clearly where we still are right now,”
Some commentators are saying that Airbnb is running a little too hot on the stock market at the moment and that prices for shares in the company will come down when the company announced what is expected to be a poor 4th quarter in a few weeks, but for now, the industry has the good news story it has been waiting for.