COVID-19 Startups

Airbnb Burned Through More Than A Billion Dollars In A Year

Hospitality startup Airbnb, which is slated to debut one of the most anticipated IPOs of the year, burned through $1.2 billion in cash—or about a third of what it had on hand—between mid-2019 and mid-2020. 

That’s according to a report in The Information on Wednesday citing previously undisclosed financial documents obtained by the publication.

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The fastest cash burn occurred in the first quarter of 2020, according to The Information’s analysis, as Airbnb grappled with a double-whammy triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic: The company was handing out unprecedented refunds while at the same time seeing bookings on its platform plunge.

While Airbnb’s cash drain accelerated in the first quarter, the company had already started to erode its balance sheet in 2019 as it ramped up hiring and spending on marketing in anticipation of a public-market debut this year, according to the report.

The San Francisco-based company still has $4.1 billion in cash on hand as of the end of June, The Information noted, including $2 billion in debt it took out in April as the pandemic pummelled its business. And it has in recent weeks started to paint a rosier picture of its future, as global travel rebounds. The company plans to raise $3 billion and go public via an IPO this quarter that could value it at $30 billion, Reuters reported last week.

Airbnb has raised $5.4 billion in funding, according to Crunchbase data, and has a post-money valuation of $18 billion as of April 2020.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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