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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 21 March, 2019
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Airbnb is about to be worth more than almost any hotel chain in the world

That’s despite the company still losing a fortune each year.

Inside an Airbnb listing in County Carlow
Inside an Airbnb listing in County Carlow
Image: Airbnb

PROPERTY-SHARING SERVICE AIRBNB could soon be valued at over $24 billion – making it worth more than any hotel chain in the world except the luxury Hilton brand.

The seven-year-old startup plans to raise another $1 billion (€878 million) in funding this month in its latest investment drive, the Wall Street Journal reported.

That cash injection would put a $24 billion (€21 billion) pricetag on the firm, valuing it above the $21 billion Marriott International hotel chain – and not far behind the $27.7 billion Hilton Worldwide company.

It would also make it the third most valuable venture-backed private company in the world, behind only Chinese electronics firm Xiaomi and car-booking service Uber.

Startups2 Source: Wall Street Journal, TheJournal.ie

The company was founded in San Fransisco by current CEO Brian Chesky and chief product officer Joe Gebbia, who turned the living room of their loft into a bed and breakfast to help them pay the rent.

It currently claims over 1.2 million property listings in more than 34,000 cities across 190-plus countries. The total number of guests to use the service so far has ticked past 35 million.

114468714ZD017_TechCrunch_D Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, left, and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Source: TechCrunch

Chewing through cash

However despite Airbnb reportedly expecting its revenues to more than triple this year to $900 million when compared to the 2013 tally of $250 million, it is still chewing through cash at a great pace to fuel that growth.

It has forecast an operating loss of around $150 million in 2015, the Wall Street Journal said.

Like Uber, which has run into legal roadblocks in countries from Spain to South Korea, regulation remains the biggest risk to Airbnb’s rapid-fire expansion.

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While in Ireland the Revenue Commissioners recently confirmed that Airbnb hosts were liable for tax on their rental income, in New York the company has fallen foul of lawmakers for supposedly facilitating thousands of illegal hotels.

READ: Why car sharing could help save Dublin from days like this >

READ: These were the 5 biggest deals for Irish startups early this year >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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