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1. Airbnb

It's a $31 billion trip

Founders: Brian Chesky (CEO), Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia
Launched: 2008
Funding: $4.4 billion (PitchBook)
Valuation: $31 billion (PitchBook)
Disrupting: Hotels, travel
Rival: Hotels, HomeAway

George Kavallines

The San Francisco-based home-sharing giant is now active in 65,000 cities in 191 countries and has more than 3 million listings on its platform, including, it claims, 3,000 castles and 1,400 tree houses. Not content to be just an online marketplace for home (or room) sharing, Airbnb recently launched Trips, which allows guests to not only book a place to stay but also choose from thousands of experiences that are unique to the host city or country.

Travelers in 20 cities, including Berlin, London, Harlem and Cape Town, to name a few, can book experiences like a lesson from a champion surfer in Sydney or a chance to learn the secrets of Japanese knives with a cutlery master in Osaka. Locals can also take advantage of the offerings, which bring in revenue from folks that have no need or desire to book an Airbnb home-share.

Read More FULL LIST: 2017 DISRUPTOR 50

For those who haven't used the service themselves, here's how it works: Airbnb allows people with extra rooms — or even a couch — to rent to folks visiting their city. The hosts set the nightly rate they want to charge, and Airbnb collects the payment, keeping a small slice for itself and passing the rest onto the host. Over the years, the company has angered regulators in San Francisco and New York City who question whether the rentals are getting taxed properly. There's also been uproar recently about Airbnb contributing to affordable-housing shortages around the country when landlords use the service rather than rent out available apartments to tenants.

None of this has put a damper on the company's ability to attract boatloads of money. Its most recent round of funding earlier this year brings its total to $4.4 billion, according to PitchBook, from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia. The company reportedly turned a profit in the last half of 2016 and anticipates it will be profitable for the remainder of this year, but is still mum on when — or if — an IPO will occur anytime soon.

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