Airbnb is one of a handful of companies that has made CNBC's Disruptor 50 List every year since the ranking began in 2013. This is due to the home-sharing giant's revolutionary business model that has upended the hospitality industry.
In just 10 years Airbnb has become a dominant player, with 5 million listings in 191 countries, more than 300 million customer bookings and a valuation of $31 billion. It's no wonder, then, that the No. 2 most valuable private company in the United States, behind Uber, ranks third on the 2018 Disruptor 50 list, announced Tuesday.
Airbnb, which matches travelers with people who want to rent their homes on a short-term basis, has a huge war chest of private funding, and it is expanding by buying and investing in new business lines, such as payments, property management and restaurant reservations. Last year it made key acquisitions: Tilt, a payments start-up that allows people to more easily split bills; and Luxury Retreats, a company that manages vacation homes. It also announced an investment in Resy, a restaurant reservation app.
Airbnb's vast reach has opened opportunities for smaller companies to hitch their wagon to the internet comet, putting the home-sharing site at the center of an ecosystem of supporting companies around the world. These dozens of start-ups act as intermediaries between hosts and guests of Airbnb, or provide services that Airbnb doesn't. They include cleaning services, property management, customer checking and even pricing advice.
"Start-ups take advantage of the scale, durability and efficiency in the Airbnb marketplace, which helps these start-ups find guests and grow quickly," said Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder and partner at Greylock Partners, a venture firm that has invested in Airbnb. "All start-ups start with zero users; they need to get in front of users to grow. Big platforms like Airbnb have lots of users."