Data Scout is LSA’s series that curates and draws meaning from third-party data. Running semi-weekly, it adds an analytical layer to the industry data that we encounter in daily knowledge building. For LSA original data, see the separate Modern Commerce Monitor™️ series.
The companies that made it out of the boom and bust cycle of the local on-demand economy include Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, WeWork, and DoorDash. With continued controversy and question marks surrounding this shortlist, Airbnb seems to have mostly sustained as both business success and societal one.
And it loves to remind us of that. As part of its recent announcement that it will go public in 2020 (joining some of the aforementioned companies), it revealed a few telling figures. Most notable on the list is the fact that there are now 7 million Airbnb home listings in more than 100,000 cities globally.
More than 1,000 cities have 1,000+ listings, which is up from 12 cities eight years ago. Its tourism business is also growing, with more than 40,000 tours and “experiences” booked in 1,000+ cities. In financial milestones, Airbnb reached $1 billion in revenue in Q2 — the second time it’s hit that mark.
The company claims that all this travel has cumulatively created $100 billion+ in economic impact across 30 countries. That includes $80 billion made by hosts since the company’s launch, $160 million of which went to teachers. 51 percent of hosts surveyed report that the income helps them afford their home.
These milestones hit business and altruistic notes. The latter is mostly spin in terms of timing and delivery, but represents real impact. And this, again, is uncharacteristic when looking at the on-demand economy, much of which is shrouded in different flavors of controversy (WeWork, Uber, DoorDash, etc.).
But before we give Airbnb too much credit for smooth sailing, the company had to (and continues to) fight battles on municipal levels for its impact on housing and its friction with deep-pocketed hotel and tourism lobbies. It’s not the hot-button employee/contractor woes faced by Uber, but it’s a roadblock nonetheless.
This raises a risk factor that will impact Airbnb’s valuation when/if it IPOs in 2020, not to mention its public market performance. The tech IPO door may be closing due to macroeconomic factors. We’ll see if Airbnb gets out the door in time to join its on-demand economy brethren at Uber, Lyft and (maybe) WeWork.
We’ll follow its progress closely and report back with any notable happenings or strategic implications. Though travel and hospitality are less relevant to SMBs and local commerce compared to some other verticals, Airbnb’s trajectory and execution will hold valuable lessons for anyone in local/SMB sectors.
Airbnb has received $4.4 billion in funding to date according to Crunchbase. Funding sources include Andreessen Horowitz, Manhattan Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, TCV, Firstmark and Altimeter Capital. The company was last privately valued at $31 billion in September 2017, according to PitchBook.
See related topics of on-demand players such as WeWork and DoorDash in LSA’s recent analyst roundtable (embedded below)
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