Airbnb Establishes Host Endowment Ahead Of IPO

Airbnb is earmarking 9.2 million shares to fund an endowment to support its hosts as the Silicon Valley unicorn prepares for an initial public offering (IPO), the company said in a recent statement.

“As we prepare for Airbnb to become a public company, we want to institutionalize our commitment to hosting, and our investment in the host community,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder and chief executive officer.  

“A couple years ago, we began asking ourselves, how can we make sure that even as Airbnb grows, hosts continue to share in our success? Since then, we’ve been hard at work on an idea,” he said. 

Airbnb’s new Host Endowment will be seeded with 9.2 million shares and when it reaches a value of $1 billion, the company said it will invest funds back into the host community, supporting education, offering financial resources, and more. 

The company will also assemble a 15-member host advisory board that will have input into deciding how the endowment is used. The board will consist of host community leaders. “The Host Advisory Board will be as diverse as the host community itself,” the company pledged, noting, “85 percent of you live outside of the US, and 55 percent of you are women.”

Additional efforts are being planned to support hosts prior to the upcoming IPO, which is anticipated to happen before 2020 is over. 

Airbnb was founded in San Francisco in 2008 by Chesky; Joe Gebbia, chief product officer; and Nathan Blecharczyk, chief strategy officer. It has grown to 4 million hosts around the world. 

Airbnb, valued at $18 million in April, is expecting to raise about $3 billion in its IPO. The listing is anticipated to be among the biggest this year. Its filing will be available after the Nov. 3 election.

The company’s listing will be the biggest Nasdaq filing since Facebook’s $16 billion filing in 2012. The New York Stock Exchange typically gets the higher-profile listings.

Airbnb hired Apple’s former chief design officer Jony Ive and his firm LoveForm to consult on the design of future products and assist in the hiring of an internal design team.