Airbnb Inc.’s public debut won’t happen anytime soon as the company is still focused on growth and overcoming regulatory challenges, said Jeff Jordan, the Andreessen Horowitz partner on the board of the online home-booking company.
The San Francisco-based company is still in a hyper-growth stage, Jordan said in an interview on Thursday. Next year is probably too optimistic because management hasn’t prepared for a market debut and more time is needed to resolve regulatory hurdles, he said.
“The growth rate says it’s still early,” Jordan said on the sidelines of the Tech in Asia Tokyo conference, without giving a specific timeline for a debut. “You don’t just magically go public. There’s work to be done behind the scenes.”
Fears are growing that the technology IPO pipeline is backing up. As a result, there’s speculation that large, privately held startups such as Airbnb and Snapchat Inc. will head to the public markets as soon as next year. The current tech boom has been unique because of the lack of IPOs, and has fueled skepticism that some valuations won’t stand up to public scrutiny.
Airbnb, which lets people list their homes and rooms for rental to travelers, reached a valuation of $30 billion last month, outpacing Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., the world’s largest hotel operator with a market capitalization of $23.4 billion. The expansion has also triggered clashes with regulators and local communities, who say home-sharing inflates real-estate prices and isn’t taxed appropriately.
While Jordan said the regulatory pushback has been “pretty frustrating,” solving every dispute isn’t a requirement for an IPO, he said. Risks posed by individual governments should recede as the company diversifies its geographic footprint and as users profit from the site, he said.
He cited New York as an example, where hosts in the city earn a total of about $1 billion annually. If the regulators shut down Airbnb, they’ll be “taking a billion dollars out of the pocket of the constituents in the state. When that becomes $2 and $5 billion, I believe it gets harder to do. So I think time is a friend.”
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