Tech unicorn and sharing economy darling Airbnb has informed the State of Delaware that it’s raising another heap of cash.
TechCrunch independently verified that Airbnb indicated in a 28 page filing on July 28th that it has plans to bring in additional late-stage capital. Almost a year after its last raise of $1.6 billion, the company is said to be adding $850 million to its coffers, according to information obtained by Equidate.
While $850 million is a ton of cash, it is not the largest round the company has raised. Last year, the company raised $1.5 billion in one of the largest VC rounds in history. The additional capital would only move Airbnb from the fifth to the forth most valuable tech unicorn at a potential valuation of $30 billion (tear).
Mega-rounds have been popular this year with Uber raising a $3.5 billion equity round from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. After the round, Uber followed up with another $1.15 billion, this time in leveraged loans.
Even as a late-stage company, Airbnb has to be increasingly conscious of the capital it takes on. Too much equity dilutes early investors, while too much debt could put investors at risk if valuations were to suddenly tank. Debt as an asset class is paid off before equity.
Airbnb has notoriously taken actions to strategically prolong an IPO, bringing on a $1 billion credit faculty last year to support growth without diluting investors.
The company previously had an approximate valuation of $27 billion, so while the round is large, it doesn’t deviate from prior anti-dilution strategies. With respect to deals that Airbnb reportedly walked away from, the $850 million dollar deal is tame. The Wall Street Journal reported that Airbnb left money on the table, rejecting a deal that would have valued the company at $34 billion.
Also according to the WSJ, investors are concurrently planning to buy approximately $200 million in stock from employees in a buyback program. Stock buyback programs are particularly common among late-stage companies looking to remain private while offering some liquidity to early employees. Buyback programs are catered towards employees rather than venture investors and typically only apply to common stock.
Early investors would have to be bought off the company’s cap-table to remove any pressure from preferred stock holders. Sequoia led a $615,000 seed round in Airbnb back in 2009. According to PitchBook, Sequoia utilized its XII fund for that investment and all follow-on Airbnb investments. That fund was created all the way back in 2006.
This all comes amidst legal battles at home and abroad. Most recently, Airbnb sued the city of San Francisco over a law requiring Airbnb to verify that hosts had filed with the city before advertising their homes.
TechCrunch reached out to Airbnb and other parties involved and will update this post as information comes in.