4 questions as Airbnb’s IPO looms

Growth, profits, margins and debt

Almost on command after we asked yesterday if a rash of technology IPOs were about to land, news broke that Airbnb plans to drop its S-1 filing early next week with a December roadshow. The document will be of intense interest for shareholders — as well as public investors who hope to purchase shares in the home-sharing unicorn.

The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. Read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.

Per Reuters, which broke the news of Airbnb’s impending public IPO filing, the company intends to raise “around $3 billion” at a valuation that could top $30 billion.

The stock market is rallying before Airbnb’s public filing, making it a good time for the company to seek a rich valuation for itself. But while Airbnb’s recovery from COVID-related lows could become a business case of the ages, it’s not hard to still have questions about what its S-1 will contain.

We know quite a lot about Airbnb’s last few years, something TechCrunch covered here. But, to save you hundreds of words, let’s quickly blast through a rough rundown of its last few quarters. Once we get through that, we’ll ask four questions that, once answered, will help the market price Airbnb’s IPO.

Results, questions

Running back through Airbnb’s numbers without extra conversation, here’s the data in bullet-point format, with percentage-change figures comparing year-over-year data provided when possible:

  • Q4 2019: Revenues of $1.1 billion (+32%), EBITDA of -$276.4 million (+92%).
  • Q1 2020: Revenues of $842 million and an adjusted loss of $341 million.
  • Q2 2020: Revenues of $335 million and an adjusted loss of $400 million.

Turning to more recent times, we know that Airbnb’s financial performance improved in Q3, with data showing the company’s bookings bouncing back as summer ran its course. The company itself has made noise about local bookings (key to its rebound as folks stayed close to home during the pandemic) and total nights booked