Airbnb Has Arrived: Raising Mega-Round at a $1 Billion+ Valuation

According to several sources Airbnb is in the process of closing a whopper of a funding round: $100 million or more at a $1 billion-plus valuation. The round is being lead by Andreessen Horowitz, and includes participation from DST, say our sources.

That’s a big increase from the company’s last funding round of $7.2 million, which included Sequoia Capital, Greylock, SV Angel, Ashton Kutcher and Youniversity Ventures (Kutcher broke the news that he’s an investor in AirBnB at TechCrunch Disrupt last week). The company, which launched via Y Combinator, has raised just $7.8 million to date.

No surprise, it was a hotly contested deal. The service has exploded, growing more than 800% last year and booking 1.6 million night stays in other people’s homes to date. On any given night in New York there are more people staying in homes via Airbnb than there are rooms in the biggest hotel in Manhattan.

Airbnb has become the sleeper hit of the startup world. It’s one of those companies plenty of well-heeled investors passed on in the early days, because they thought no one would want to open his or her home to strangers. Out of twenty angels he pitched in 2008, founder Brian Chesky said half didn’t return his emails and most of the others told him it was an awful idea. Even Paul Graham hated it, but he liked Chesky and backed him hoping he’d change the company. TechCrunch’s own hotel expert Paul Carr was a cynic too.

Now, the fear of missing another Airbnb is palpable in the Valley, and one of the reasons GetAround became the darling, audience choice and winner of our Disrupt conference this week.

Earlier in the week, I sat down with Airbnb founder Brian Chesky to talk about this reversal in fortune and how the business is going, although at the time we hadn’t heard the details of the deal he was busy negotiating. Check it out below.