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Airbnb

Airbnb finalises $1.5 billion funding round that puts its valuation at $25.5 billion

Airbnb has finalised a funding round of $1.5 billion, led by General Atlantic with participation from Tiger Global and Hillhouse Capital. The round, one of the largest private rounds to date, puts the company’s valuation at $25.5 billion.

Airbnb last raised $475 million in a Series D round in April last year, at which point it was valued at $10 billion.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the startup’s revenue is set to top $900 million this year, and is projected to hit $10 billion by 2020.

The latest round comes as Airbnb works to gain greater acceptance through regulation; as CEO Brian Chesky told Re/code, “We think to be regulated is to be recognised.”

The service was legalised in San Francisco last year, but with 34,000 cities across 190 countries on the platform it faces a long road ahead.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks so far has been New York, with the State’s attorney general releasing a report saying that three quarters of Airbnb listings in New York City were illegal.

Closer to home, NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has called for the State to look at legalising and regulating companies like Uber and Airbnb, despite protests from the taxi and hotel industries since the platforms launched in Australia.

With Airbnb boasting 30,000 properties in Sydney, Foley believes the platform can no longer be ignored.

In his budget reply speech, he said that the Government is “defying reality” by pretending that the sharing economy is illegal or “could be fined out of existence.”

“It won’t be, it can’t be. It’s here to stay, let’s regulate it in the public interest. The people have voted with their feet: a million ride sharing trips in Sydney last year. That number will only grow,” Foley said.

In a piece for Fairfax, Foley added that Airbnb could help open up the NSW tourism sector to a whole new market.

“Yes, we must act carefully and be cognisant of the risks, but I refuse to believe the only role for government in this bold new economy is to weakly sandbag levees that are destined eventually to break,” he wrote.

Foley will be introducing a private member’s bill to legalise and regulate ride sharing in NSW, with a bill to regulate Airbnb expected to follow.

Image: Airbnb co-founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Brian Chesky




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