Connect with us

Uncategorized

Airbnb files to go public

Published

on

Airbnb filed to go public today, bringing the well-known unicorn one step closer to being a public company.

The financial results show a company on the rebound, but smaller than it was. Its more granular financial results also make clear how hard the pandemic was on the travel-reliant unicorn. Regarding Airbnb’s worth, investors will have to balance how they value recovery and recent profits over the company’s disrupted historical growth arc.

How did we get here?

The home-sharing startup had a tumultuous year, with the COVID-19 pandemic harming its business in the first and second quarters of the year, and Airbnb later recovering on the strength of more local bookings.

Its filing comes mere days after fellow unicorns DoorDash and C3.ai themselves filed to go public in what could be a rush to the public markets by richly valued startups.

Airbnb’s S-1 filing was expected to come last week, but was delayed due to purported election concerns, a concept that TechCrunch staff did not find entirely convincing.

We’ve scraped together quite a lot about Airbnb’s recent financial performance, but its S-1 is the real treasure trove. What follows is a dive into the company’s high-level numbers. From there, TechCrunch will dig into the company’s financial nuances and ownership stakes.

Airbnb’s financial performance

What we want to know is how the pandemic impacted Airbnb’s business; its year-to-date results, and what we can suss out from its quarterly trends.

Up top in Airbnb’s S-1 is a chart that shows monthly bookings on its platform. The implication is somewhat simple; namely that Airbnb knows what we want to know and wanted to share. Here are those numbers:

As expected, Airbnb took a huge hit in March. But by May things were back to year-over-year growth, where they stayed.

Now, the company has seen precious little bookings growth since June — indeed it has seen bookings fall in the months since. And, worse, the company’s gross bookings after removing cancellations are down on a year-over-year basis. (Update: We misread this table at first, and have updated our notes on it.)

So, what does all of that look like in more traditional accounting figures? Here’s Airbnb’s reported income statement:

As expected, Airbnb’s year has not been tremendous. Indeed, the company is on track to match its 2018 size, if we have our math correct.

What changed from the first three quarters of 2019 to the first three quarters of 2020? The biggest thing, apart from expected lowers revenue costs — less revenue costs less — is the huge decline in sales and marketing spend at the company. Airbnb slashed S&M outlays from $1.18 billion in the first three quarters of 2019 to just $545.5 million in the same period of 2020.

So, where will Airbnb wind up in 2020 once it’s all done? We’ll need to peek at its quarterly results for that. Here they are:

Airbnb’s growth continues in year-over-year terms right until the March 31, 2020 quarter, when it was effectively flat compared to Q1 2019. Or, the company would have grown sans COVID-19. In the June 30, 2020 quarter we see the real damage, with Airbnb’s revenue falling from $1.2 billion in the year-ago quarter to just $334.8 million. That’s a shocking decline.

But, looking ahead to Q3 2020 and we see a large return to form. Yes, Airbnb’s third quarter was smaller than its Q3 2019, with $1.34 billion in top line instead of $1.65 billion in 2019, but the company effectively quadrupled from its preceding quarter. If the company manages another Q3 worth of revenue in Q4, it would be larger than it was in 2018 by a few hundred million.

Critically, Airbnb managed to swing from a number of unprofitable quarters to a profit in Q3, akin to its 2019 Q3 when it was also in the black. Of course, Airbnb’s $219.3 million in GAAP net income during the third quarter pales compared to its losses tallied earlier in the year. The company will not break even in 2020.

Airbnb also reported adjusted profit metrics. Its adjusted EBITDA results are based on the following definition:

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income or loss adjusted for (i) provision for income taxes; (ii) interest income, interest expense, and other income (expense), net; (iii) depreciation and amortization; (iv) stock-based compensation expense; (v) net changes to the reserves for lodging taxes for which we may be held jointly liable with hosts for collecting and remitting such taxes; and (vi) restructuring charges.

The decision to remove restructuring costs raised eyebrows, with Amy Cheetham, an investor at Costanoa Ventures saying that “it feels like leaving out restructuring costs is a little aggressive?” We agree, as it gives the company too much flexibility to count the good in its results, like lower operating costs, while discounting what it took to get those results, like restructuring its business operations.

That’s having your cake and eating it as well and not counting the calories.

Still, who are we to withhold numbers from you? Here is the very adjusted EBITDA that Airbnb claims:

The numbers are still not good even after ripping out so very any costs. Worse, perhaps is the company’s cash burn in the year. That deficit helps explain why Airbnb took on more capital when it did earlier this year.

It’s hard to put a firm grade on this S-1. It contains what we expected, but how investors weigh the company’s year-over-year revenue declines in Q3 2020 against its rapid comeback from Q2 2020 should help decide its eventual value. On the whole Airbnb has managed something incredibly impressive — bouncing back from so low a low.

But, now that it’s going public we can’t merely say good job; it wants to price itself well and trade strongly. So, all eyes on its first IPO range as that should tell us what investors just might be willing to pay for the famous company’s equity.

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

Uncategorized

Primer, the fintech helping merchants consolidate the payments stack, raises £14M Series A

Published

on

Primer, the U.K. fintech that wants to help merchants consolidate their payments stack and easily support new payment methods in the future, has raised £14 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Accel, who I understand were quite proactive in persuading Primer to take the VC firm’s money.

The young company wasn’t actively fund-raising, having quietly raised £3.8 million in funding announced in May. Instead, the team was heads down building out the product and wooing potential customers by holding technical workshops and in-depth interviews over Zoom with 100 merchants — activity that didn’t go unnoticed.

Also participating in the Series A are existing investors: Balderton, SpeedInvest and Seedcamp, who were joined in the round by new backer RTP Global. Sonali De Rycker, partner at Accel, will join Primer’s board.

Founded by ex-PayPal employees – via PayPal’s acquisition of Braintree — Primer wants to offer one payments API to (hopefully) rule them all, with the explicit aim of bringing greater transparency to a merchant’s payment stack.

The thinking is that larger merchants, especially those that operate in more than one geography, have to support an array of payment methods, which brings with it significant technical overhead, a poor user experience, and lack of transparency.

Primer, now described as a “low code” platform, carries out a lot of that heavy-lifting on behalf of merchants and while remaining steadfastly payment method agnostic. By doing so, the idea is to reduce friction when adopting new payment methods as they come to market, and be able to provide better insights into things like how well each checkout option is performing.

As well as payment-service-providers (PSPs), the platform has connectors for fraud providers, chargeback services, subscription billing engines, BI tools, loyalty and rewards platforms. Both payments and non-payments services can be “seamlessly connected to the checkout experience and payments flow via workflows, enabling merchants to unify their fraud migration efforts, build sophisticated transaction routing, and solve complex flows – all with no code,” explains Primer.

Primer says the additional funding will be used for international business development and scaling its team. Billed as a remote-first company, Primer has 23 employees across six countries, and says it has already picked up traction across mid-market and large enterprise e-commerce merchants across Europe.

Comments Paul Anthony, Primer’s co-founder and head of product and engineering: “During our time at PayPal, we saw first-hand the technical burden online merchants face trying to offer the best payments experiences to their customers globally. Our low-code approach enables merchants’ payments teams to manage and expand their payments ecosystems, and maintain sophisticated payments logic with a familiar workflow UI”.

Meanwhile, the new investment brings Primer’s total funding to £17.8 million, and comes only a few weeks after the initial launch of the company’s platform.

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Gillmor Gang: Electrical Banana

Published

on

Thanks I’m giving for the start of the first big online season. Yes, the pandemic has put in place a gigantic move to the digital for our immediate and accelerated future. We all know how this plays out in the required state of things pre-vaccine. But there’s an undercurrent not so hidden there of a dynamic answer to my wife’s stubborn question: Where’s my Jetpack?

She’s a child of the 60s, a post-Beatles time of imploding dreams and dashed expectations. James Bond got to fly a Jetpack, but the telltale burned gasoline exhaust made the effect an artifact of what wasn’t going to happen. In an electric decade and noise-canceling AirPods, maybe it’s more likely to surface than not, but if so, what’s the next Jetpack?

My vote is for the electric newsletter, a notification engine that knows what I’m tracking, projects the trends circulating my core peers, and invests proactively in the products we want to accelerate. It’s a self healing economy, a research coordinator, a humor and media rewarder. On the Gang, we use a blend of live streaming, backchannel notifications, and everything up to but not including a newsletter.

From its earliest days, Twitter promised a future where RSS authority would be mined in a social context. What I mean by that is RSS delivered the ability, the chair in the sky opportunity Louis C.K. described, the chance to explore the world alongside the artists formerly known as accredited journalists. It was always a tough sell for the displaced gatekeepers, but flash forward to today and you can see they’re all bloggers and podcasters now.

The moment the meritocracy window opened, the definition of success moved to the readers, the viewers, the social enterprise as Marc Benioff insisted. Software as a service mined those social signals as fuel for what the iPhone delivered in the mobile wave. Now the mobile economy is expanding to the silicon on the desktop. M1 seems like an evolution, but its entry point on consumer laptops is designed to produce network effects in the same way Office 97 boosted Windows 95 into orbit.

So where is this electric newsletter if it’s so important? As a vehicle for finding stuff I didn’t know I cared about, newsletters suffer from too many of them with too few business models driving them. Subscriptions derive revenue but reduce the network effects of advertising supported subsidy of firewalls. You get reach but quantity explodes. Context glut is not a pretty thing, either.

Our early attempts at constructing a Gang newsletter spawned the realtimeTelegram feed; its group-shared notification stream valuable as much for what we skipped as when we dipped in to it. As a framing device for the Gillmor Gang recording sessions, we could anticipate both what we wanted to talk about and what we wanted to avoid. Trump fatigue gets burned off in Telegram, while science and innovation get drilled down on and fleshed out in advance.

Adding a Twitter feed (follow @gillmorgang) pushes Likes and retweets into the mix. The live recording stream generates Facebook Watch Parties and additional comments. An edited version here on TechCrunch adds this related commentary. But where’s the newsletter for all these live pieces?

Perhaps the answer goes back to the Jetpack? It may not be the Jetpack we are looking for, but rather the components that make up this stream as a service. A Jetpack offers the dream of instant teleportation without the traffic jams or being polite about your Uber driver’s musical taste. Zoom already offers some of that promise, where saving the commute opens up hours in your day. Zoom-enabled shopping and delivery management will go a long way.

As Donovan presciently proclaimed, Electrical Banana gonna to be the very next phase. My electric newsletter is the perfect definition of a pipe dream. It’s not so much as when it’s going to get here as what.

__________________

The Gillmor Gang — Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary, and Steve Gillmor . Recorded live Friday, November 20, 2020.

Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor

@fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @kteare, @brentleary, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang

For more, subscribe to the Gillmor Gang Newsletter and join the backchannel here on Telegram.

The Gillmor Gang on Facebook … and here’s our sister show G3 on Facebook.

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Firstminute Capital launches second $111 fund, featuring a whos-who of founders as LPs

Published

on

London HQ’d Firstminute Capital has announced its second early-stage venture fund of $111m (£87m). Founded and cornerstoned in 2016 by Brent Hoberman CBE (best known as co-founder of lastminute.com and MADE.com), together with Spencer Crawley (formerly of Goldman Sachs), this new fund comes after the first fund of $100M, giving Firstminute $211M assets under management, investing across Europe and the US at the seed stage.

Firstminute’s team of 18 is based in London, Stockholm and Berlin and now has plans to open an office in LA next year.

Of note is the fact that its LPs now number 70 founders of billion-dollar businesses as investors, and that Firstminute is being so open. VCs typically do not reveal much information about LPs. Hoberman has clearly also leveraged his position as founder of the Founders Forum group which runs events and activities for European tech founders.

The fact that so many founders – largely drawn from the ranks of European startups – have invested is unusual, certainly for European VC funds. It includes 16 founders of $10bn+ “decacorn” technology businesses, including Palantir, Wayfair, Ocado, MongoDB, Zalando, Supercell and Check Point, as well as founders from Huda Beauty, Graphcore and Rappi. Included are board members and CEOs from large technology companies.

RIT Capital Partners is the fund’s anchor investor. This is their first such position in a European venture capital firm. They previously backed leading US funds including Sequoia, Benchmark, Thrive and Iconiq. Additional institutional investors include the Chinese technology giant Tencent, FMCG conglomerate Henkel, London-based venture fund Atomico and four Californian multi-stage firms.

The existing Fund I portfolio consists of 56 companies that have collectively raised approximately $0.5bn in funding.

Firstminute says half of its current portfolio companies have UK headquarters, with the remaining half split between continental Europe and North America. Two-thirds of the businesses are B2B and one third are B2C.

Hoberman said in a statement: “European technology is reaching escape velocity, and it’s fantastic to enable so many global serial entrepreneurs to give their experience to the next generation: we have over 70 unicorn founders joining us on this journey so far, and more to come as we approach final close. Seed venture investing is attracting ever higher quality backers which will help more founders succeed.”

Crawley, firstminute Co-founder & General Partner, said: “Our healthcare systems, workplaces and educational establishments face fresh complexities. The service economy is having to re-imagine itself. The gap between financial markets and the real economy is growing wider (with the young most at risk). Start-ups are not a panacea, but emerging technology companies have a key role to play in today’s recovery strategy, both in their mindset and the products they will create.”

I asked Hoberman to what extent was the internationalization of the fund‘s geographical footprint related to Brexit?

“Some investors have asked us about the risks of Brexit to a UK-based fund and it’s been great to highlight the international nature of our approach,” he said. “The potential threats of a bad Brexit deal ensured we moved faster to cover more geographies.”

I also asked him what advantages or disadvantages does having so many founders as LPs confer on the fund?

“Operators understand the rollercoaster of the founder journey well. They know the path to success is rarely linear. They have lived the scaling journey with all its challenges. They can impart this wisdom to the next generation.

“These founders know about blitzscaling, board management, prioritization, fundraising, internationalization and above all the role of talent and teams. This knowledge can make the difference between failure and extraordinary success.

“Furthermore successful founders often have world-class network, useful for hiring, internationalization and business development deals,” he said.

Firstminute also announced some team changes. Arek Wylegalski, formerly of Index Ventures, has joined as a partner for Fund II. Arek was a Venture Partner with the firm during Fund I. Lina Wenner, formerly of BCG, has been promoted to Associate Partner, and Camilla Mazzolini, Clara Lindh Bergendorff and Sam Endacott have been promoted to Principals. Min Nolan, Head of Platform & Operations, and Anais Benazet, Head of Community, lead the portfolio support function, whilst Henry Lane-Fox, Steve Crossan and Tommy Stadlen continue to invest as venture partners.

The backers of firstminute capital funds include the founders and/or executives from the companies listed below:

firstminute LPs – Founders of $10bn+ companies, include:

Joe Lonsdale (Palantir Technologies), Robert Gentz (Zalando), Niraj Shah (Wayfair), Tim Steiner (Ocado), Marius Nacht (Check Point), Kevin Ryan (MongoDB), Ilkka Paananen (Supercell), Adyen, Autonomy, Airtel.

firstminute LPs – Founders of $1bn+ companies, include:

Sebastian Mejia (Rappi), Ross Mason (MuleSoft), Pete Flint (Trulia), Martin Migoya (Globant), Vikrant Bhargava (PartyGaming), Martin Varsavsky (Jazztel, Fon, Eolia), Fabrice Grinda (OLX), Steve Fredette (Toast), Rafi Gidron (Chromatis), Simon Nixon (Moneysupermarket), Lars Hinrichs (XING), Johan Brand (Kahoot), Huda Kattan (Huda Beauty), Tom Chapman & Ruth Chapman (Matchesfashion), Nigel Toon (Graphcore), Carl Pei (OnePlus), Hanzade Dogan (Hepsiburada), Barry Smith (Skyscanner), Sir Charles Dunstone (Carphone Warehouse), Hamish Shephard (HelloFresh), Alexander Rittweger (Payback), Marketshare, King.com, BlaBlaCar, Qunar, Net-a-Porter, Fox Kids Europe, Webhelp, Betfair, Datamonitor, Tradex Technologies, Zoopla.

firstminute LPs – Current or Former CEOs and Chairs, include:

Eric Schmidt (former Chairman and CEO, Google), Michael Lynton (Chairman, Snap and Warner Music Group, former CEO and Chairman, Sony), Sir Paul Ruddock (Co-founder & former CEO of Lansdowne Partners, Chairman Oxford University Endowment), Lord Mervyn Davies (Chairman of Corsair Capital, former Minister and Standard Chartered CEO & Chairman), Linda Fayne Levinson (former Chairwoman of Hertz), Jeremy Coller (Founder, Chairman and CIO Coller Capital), David Giampaolo (Chairman, Gousto), Ian Gallienne (CEO, Sienna Capital), Alexander de Carvalho (Co-founder & CIO of Public.io, Heineken NED), Babatunde Soyoye (Co-founder and Managing Partner, Helios Investment Partners), Nextdoor, PicsArt, Booking.com, Nordeus, Kinnevik AB, JCDecaux Holdings.

firstminute LPs – Institutional Investors, include:

RIT Capital Partners, Tencent, Atomico, Henkel, Felicis Ventures, The Raine Group, LionTree Partners, Lombard Odier.

Continue Reading

Trending