Report: Airbnb’s Q1 Loss More Than Doubled To $306 Million

  • General
  • October 18, 2019
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  • 6 minutes read
Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky

Photograph by Kevin Moloney/Fortune Brainstorm Tech

According to a report from The Information, Airbnb’s operating loss in the first three months of this year more than doubled to $306 million, attributable in part to increased sales and marketing spend which The Information says was $367 million, a 58% increase from the same period last year. The Information reports Airbnb’s sales and marketing spend surpassed that of any other category, including product development, which grew by 51% from the same period last year. Operations and support, which includes customer service, climbed 30% year-on-year according to The Information.

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Citing undisclosed financial data, The Information reports Airbnb’s revenue grew 31% year-over-year to $839 million, while expenses climbed 47%. Its report also says Airbnb has more than $3 billion in cash on its balance sheet despite the losses, and that it has a $1 billion line of credit it hasn’t used.

Although increased sales and marketing spend could bring in lot of new businesses for Airbnb, prospective investors in the company — which recently announced plans to go public next year — could be perturbed if following quarters show similar losses. That could pose an issue for Airbnb, especially in a time investors have soured to cash-burning ventures such as Uber and Lyft. Such situation was what forced WeWork, a Softbank-backed co-working company, to shelve its plans to go public. Softbank is now said to be seeking to a majority stake in WeWork via a financing deal, with the co-working company also said to be at risk of running out of cash by December if it doesn’t take on more funding.

Airbnb COO Belinda Johnson

Photograph by Kristy Walker/Fortune Most Powerful Women

Airbnb is actually one highly-valued tech company known to be doing quite well. Earlier this year, it announced it had surpassed 6 million worldwide listings, a significant feat for its business. Not long ago, the company was also reported to have recorded a 31% surge in gross bookings in the first quarter of this year, a signal that points towards rapid growth. However, big losses could draw skepticism from investors if it proceeds with its plans to go public next year. Such skepticism could in turn have effect on its valuation on the public markets, which wouldn’t spell good for the San Francisco-based company.

Airbnb earlier this year sold stock at a $35 billion valuation, and also set its internal valuation at about $38 billion. It’s plausible the company may be aiming for a valuation higher than that on the public markets, a situation where big losses wouldn’t help.


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