Can I buy Airbnb Stock?

Airbnb Stock 2019

How can I buy Airbnb Stock? How to buy Airbnb Shares 2019

Now evaluated at over $30 billion USD in 2019, investors are eager to get their hands on Airbnb stock. But how can and how should one go about this? Here we overview when an Airbnb IPO can be expected and how to get a jump start before the announcement hits.

This overview will cover the following:

  • Who can buy Airbnb stock right now, in 2019?
  • If so, how do I buy shares of Airbnb?
  • And, should I buy Airbnb stock?

Company Overview of Airbnb, Inc. 

Airbnb, Inc. operates an online community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book accommodations worldwide online or from a mobile phone. The company allows people to rent out their extra space and has been a prominent startup in the “sharing economy.” The company was founded in 2008 in San Francisco, California by Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia, and Molly Turner.

Airbnb has been incredibly successful in its mission to provide that “Belong anywhere” feeling to its users. The company has served over 150 million guests through 2 million listing, in nearly every country worldwide. Airbnb’s latest funding round surpassed most expectations—closing more than a $1 billion USD round of funding, confirmed by the SEC filling in early March 2017, to bring its total funding to more than $4 billion USD. The company is now worth approximately $31 billion USD—reigning supreme as a true tech unicorn.

The company also turned profitable in the second quarter of 2016, growing revenue by over 80% in 2016, and plans on maintaining this profitability through 2017. Details have not yet been disclosed, but Airbnb plans to use its new funds to grow operations globally as a focus.

Now many are asking a rather obvious question: How and where can I get in on the action?

Who can buy Airbnb stock right now? 

Unfortunately, Airbnb is not yet a public company and may stay that way until at least 2019, so there is no way to directly buy shares of the company. CEO Brian Cheskey stated in a 2014 interview that his company was in no rush to go public, indicating that it would wait until it has a “compelling reason to do so.”

Because of its enormous value, second in value only to Uber based on current evaluations, it has been capable of raising large amount of private money when need be.

Why is that important? 

Airbnb’s ability to raise large amounts of funds from a variety of private sources means that its in no pressure to raise public funds in an IPO. While going public is often a crowning achievement in the entrepreneurship game, this has actually been less the case with startups in recent years. Companies are actually staying private longer than ever before.

Other considerations

The Jumpstart our Business Startup Act (JOBS), passed in 2012, raised the maximum number of shareholders a company can have before disclosing financial statements. Combined with a growing supply of private investors and funding sources, companies are now able to stay private for longer.

But…

There is hope for investors ready to pounce on Airbnb’s IPO. Recent comments in March 2017 by Chesky hinted towards a current preparation process for an upcoming IPO stating, “We are working on making sure the company is ready to go public, and I’ve said it was a two-year project… Were probably about halfway through that project.”

So…. How can I buy shares of Airbnb in 2019? 

As noted previously, you cannot yet buy shares of Airbnb (or Airbnb stock). It’s impossible—nobody is currently able to buy Airbnb stock.

If and when Airbnb does go public, it is a relatively straightforward process to purchase Airbnb shares. One would simply need to follow a few steps:

  1. Sign up with an online broker account
  2. Choose your favorite online-broker option. Some popular sites include etrade.com and TradeKing.com
  3. If you are American, input your SSN to activate your account
  4. And, viola! Start trading.

But… Can I get started right now? 

In some ways, yes! It’s possible to invest in Airbnb indirectly.

One method of indirect investment is to purchase share of publicly-traded companies which already hold significant private shares of Airbnb. When and if Airbnb does finally go public, a large part of those companies’ balance sheets will inevitably be (hopefully, positively!) affected by an Airbnb IPO.

These include:

  • Sequoia Capital – invested $600,000 USD
  • Greylock Partners – invested $7.2 mill USD
  • Andreessen Horowitz – invested $112 mill USD
  • Founders Fund – invested $200 mill USD
  • FirstMark Capital – invested $200 mill USD

You can find the complete list on the Crunchbase listing.

While investing in these companies is sure to pay off once Airbnb does go public, it is important to remember that a wide variety of factors can also influence their future profitability and returns on their stocks. So, examine them closely before buying in.

Ok… but should I buy Airbnb stock? 

The most important question any investor should ask at this point is, indeed, should rather than how or can I buy a particular stock. It can be confusing—experts definitely differ in their opinion and analysis on the subject.

Identify the main risk factors

A good starting point is to outline some potential risk factors. Firstly, it is important to note that regulators are increasingly seeing Airbnb as a way for private owners to become business renters without being licensed to do so. Renters also don’t pay the appropriate taxes on earnings. Some cities, such as San Francisco and New York, are actively finding ways to either limit or prohibit the use of such business models. This could prove to be a rather sticky situation for Airbnb that would impact the future of it own business model.

Secondly, new competition from companies such as Roomorama, as well as similar services like well-established online travel companies such as Expedia or TripAdvisor could prove lethal. These companies have already attained scale and could easily branch out into more flexible business models to challenge Airbnb.

Look at projected revenue

Airbnb management has predicted $10 billion in revenue in 2020, which is about 60% of Marriott’s 2016 total revenue, even though Airbnb is much younger.

Although it faces some regulatory hurdles due to its disruptive business model, when Airbnb does go public, many experts agree it will be one of the hottest tech debuts of the year. And because its current evaluation and projected revenue is so large, it is unlikely to be acquired, which also points to a successful IPO in the next year or two.

Airbnb Stock: Conclusion

A couple things are certain about Airbnb’s immediate future:

  • It is very likely to remain a profitable company in 2019
  • It is currently working on expanding its operations globally and has shown healthy user uptake
  • It is reportedly half-way through the IPO preparation process – meaning that Airbnb is likely to go public within one year’s time
  • When Airbnb does in fact go public, it is sure to be one of the largest public offering of the year — if not THE largest offering

Investors that have their eye on Airbnb can act now by investing in stocks related to Airbnb’s main funders, but can also be rest assured the time to grab their own piece of the Airbnb pie is just around the corner!


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