Founders: Brian Chesky (CEO), Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk
Headquarters: San Francisco
Funding: $3.1 billion
Valuation: $31 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies: Artificial intelligence, machine learning
Industry: Hotels, travel, hospitality
It turns out that home sharing is nicer when the home in question is high end. Last year Airbnb rolled out Airbnb Plus for customers that like a little luxury with their rentals. The homes and apartments included here have to pass a 100-point quality inspection to be included on Airbnb's platform and feature amenities such as faster Wi-Fi and upscale appliances. The company says the Plus offerings are expanding rapidly around the globe.
As it manages through its second decade in business, Airbnb continues to expand the rest of its offerings. It boasts 6 million listings (castles and treehouses among them) in 81,000 cities across 191 countries.
To make sure all those travelers have something to do when they arrive, the company launched Experiences in 2016. The platform allows guests to explore a location through unique activities run by locals. Among the offerings they can book: swimming with sea lions in Peru or learning how to make handmade pasta in Rome. Co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky is especially bullish on the potential for this segment of the business as young people spend more of their disposable income on experiences rather than possessions. Right now the company has more than 30,000 experience hosts around the world and recently opened a Los Angeles office to serve as a hub for the Experiences team.
In March the company spent a reported $400 million in cash and stock to buy the hotel booking site HotelTonight to get access to its roster of boutique hotels around the country. HotelTonight could see a potential windfall if — or when — Airbnb does an IPO. some of its key investors include Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia. In November it brought on a new CFO, refueling the hope that the company will finish out 2019 as a public company.