Airbnb has hired iMac, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch designer Sir Jony Ive to help create its next generation of products and services just as the Californian home rental company gears up for its IPO later this year.
Ive, who left Apple in 2019, will also be charged with redesigning Airbnb’s website and app as it aims to raise around $3 billion in the upcoming market listing. airbnb. It is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated US stock market listings of the year, even though Airbnb is following in the footsteps of Warner Music Group, data analytics firm Palantir and data warehouse company Snowflake.
Airbnb’s immediate prospects are not quite as uniformly upbeat as CEO Brian Chesky might have everybody believe, however, Earlier this month, The Information reported that the company had burned through more than $1.2 billion in cash between mid-2019 and mid-2020 as the post-pandemic plunge in global travel eroded a balance sheet already weakened by big increases in spending on hiring and marketing. This would suggest that a larger proportion of the cash raised from the IPO will need to be allocated to paying off its debts than originally anticipated.
This seems unlikely to dampen demand from Airbnb’s many fans who point to the unexpectedly sharp recovery it has enjoyed in recent months as fear of infection has seen travellers giving long-distance trips and larger hotels a swerve in favour of more localised and modest vacation rentals.
The appointment of Ive would suggest that Cheskey shares their optimism. According to inside sources, the company’s current plan is to make its filing publicly available in November after the US presidential election and is targeting an IPO some time in December. The same sources suggest that the IPO could propel Airbnb to a valuation of more than $30 billion – depending, of course, on post-election market conditions.