Airbnb Shares More Than Double in IPO—Four Experts on What's Next for the Company

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Airbnb made its public debut on the Nasdaq on Thursday.

The company's CEO and four market and venture capital experts discuss what the post-pandemic future could hold for the short-term-rental and travel company.

Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO, lays out what he sees as a bright future for the company and the travel industry.

"Travel is going to be back. And I think that if our IPO represents anything, I think it represents that our hosts are coming back, and that travel is coming back. But to be very clear, travel is never going to look like it did in January, because the world is never going to look like it did in January. And I think what it's going to mean is that travel can get redistributed to thousands of cities. I think people are going to stay longer and they're going to be looking for more intimate, authentic experiences, and anyone that provides that, I think, is going to be a part of this bright future for travel."

Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money," says some capital will have to be shifted as more stocks come to market.

"I don't think there's any level that some of these buyers aren't willing to pay. And the problem with that obviously ... is I don't know how much capital there is to fuel these, particularly with [the] Robinhood [IPO] coming up. We just don't necessarily have enough that we don't have to sell something first."

Mark Shmulik, lead internet analyst at Bernstein, is looking to Airbnb's future growth and revenue streams.

"I certainly think there's a ton of investor excitement about participating in Airbnb. It's one of the few names that you can participate in in the reopening trade but still keep that optionality of 'what can this platform become?' But to me, actually the biggest risk is 'where does growth come from?' ... Are they going to be able to crack the experiences bucket and build a real revenue stream there? Can they grow into the hotel space and continually take share away from the larger lodging revenue pool? Can they get deeper into long-term rentals and really build out a sustainable business there? So certainly, once we look past the reopening and the recovery, where we do see that pent-up demand coming back into the lodging sector, where does that incremental growth come from? Because certainly there's a dream that sits behind Airbnb, and can they unlock that dream to me is certainly the biggest risk attached to some of these platform-like names."

Michael Seibel, partner at Y Combinator, is tracking where opportunity lies for Airbnb.

"I think that there are two big opportunities for them. The first is Airbnb is responsible for rebuilding global travel in the post-company world. They're going to be figuring out how to make it safe, how to make it convenient and how to make it affordable for everyone who is looking for alternative solutions. And then I think the second thing that's most interesting is that the future of work, as we all are working from home, Airbnb is in the best position to support workers who are now basically able to blur the lines between a one- to two-week vacation rental and a one-year apartment rental. So I think there are a lot of great opportunities ahead."

Eric Paley, managing partner of Founder Collective, is looking beyond the IPO to how Airbnb can build upon its success.

"I think what's special about this team, and the leadership that Airbnb has luckily had throughout, is they're building for long term. They were starting in a recession, they endured this very, very difficult period with Covid, and I'm just super impressed by how they've come out of that. And I think the reality is ... with high prices come very high expectations. I think the reality for them is they've got to continue to build that business and continue to show value, and I think what really matters is years from now what does this business look like, not where was the price today."


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