Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky resisted calls from his investors for years to follow the lead of other Silicon Valley unicorns and take the home rental startup public, as he pursued his dream of turning it into a one-stop shop for leisure and travel. He is now pressing ahead with a stock market debut just as the COVID-19 pandemic hits its peak. Airbnb aims to complete its initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq next month, 12 years after Chesky founded the company with former roommates Joseph Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk. The long road to the IPO frustrated many investors and employees waiting for an opportunity to sell their Airbnb shares in the stock market. Reuters interviews with more than a dozen Airbnb executives, advisers, investors and employees show that Chesky put IPO plans on the backburner as he sought to turn the company into a full-fledged travel agency, adding “experiences” so guests could participate in vacation activities such as book-guided tours of local attractions. By increasing spending on these ventures, he sacrificed Airbnb’s profitability, the IPO prospectus shows. It took years of pressure from investors and employees, as well as a deterioration in Airbnb’s finances during the pandemic, for Chesky to… Read full this story
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