Airbnb is pitching investors with a story of resilience, despite steep losses and an uncertain path to profitability.
The prospectus of the home-share startup was made public Monday, 12 years after the company debuted and quickly turned the hospitality industry on its head. In it, the company said it will trade under the ticker symbol “ABNB.”
The 349-page document gives prospective investors their first peek under the hood of Airbnb, revealing details of its finances, ownership structure, and more.
Here are some of the highlights:
Revenue was soaring … until Covid.
Airbnb’s gross bookings totaled $38 billion in 2019, up 29 percent year-over-year from $29.3 billion in 2018. Its revenue last year was $4.8 billion, compared to $3.7 billion in 2018 and $2.6 billion in 2017.
As of Sept. 30, bookings totaled $18 billion, a 39 percent year-over-year drop. Revenue for that period dropped 32 percent, to $2.5 billion.
Airbnb’s still chasing profits.
The company had lost a total of $2.1 billion as of Sept. 30, including $674.3 million in 2019, $16.9 million in 2018 and $70 million in 2017. It lost $696.6 million during the first nine months of this year, more than twice the $322.8 million it lost during the same period in 2019.
In the S-1, Airbnb acknowledged it may not be able to achieve profitability, a detail that could spook investors.
“The rules have changed in the IPO market,” Santosh Rao, the head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, told The Real Deal in September. “Investors want private companies to be profitable or have a clear path to profitability.”
March was madness.
Pre-pandemic, Airbnb had gross bookings of $3 billion in February 2020. But refunds to customers pushed that number down to negative $900 million in March, the S-1 shows. Monthly bookings were back up to $1.1 billion in May and $2.5 billion in September.
There’s good in bad news.
In line with Airbnb’s media messaging of late, its prospectus goes heavy on a story of resilience in crisis, detailing how the company’s business started to rebound after the worst of the pandemic. The other challenges it lists include violent party houses and a raft of “complex, evolving, and sometimes inconsistent and ambiguous laws and regulations.”