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Airbnb IPO raises even more cash, based on Doordash debut 

Airbnb soars to near $100bn valuation as shares more than double in IPO

The IPO market looks hot as Airbnb and C3.ai raise price targets

Laid-Off Airbnb Employees Lost Mountain of Canceled Stock

  • Airbnb has smashed through Wall Street expectations for its IPO, trading at a $100bn valuation after it’s first day on the stock exchange. 
  • The company was originally hoping for a $60bn valuation just last week, but analysts marked the company up to $80bn following DoorDash’s massive IPO on Wednesday. 
  • Airbnb had a difficult 2020 as the floor dropped out of the tourism industry, but it fared better than most. It’s operational costs plummeted with revenue, as the company owns almost no premises and doesn’t have to pay cleaning and maintenance staff across its network. 
  • For comparison, Airbnb is valued at over twice the rate of Hilton, which owns actual real estate across the planet. Does this make sense? 
  • The sale will add billions to the fortunes of its founders and allow staff to sell up to 15% of their shares after the listing, instead of waiting for the usual lock-up period, creating more millionaires.
  • But spare a thought for the ex-Airbnb staff who didn’t get rich last week. Cory Weinberg at The Information reports that the company canceled about $616 million worth of unvested stock awards through the first nine months of the year, the majority of those awards likely belonged to the roughly 1,800 employees Airbnb let go when in April, around 25% of its staff. 

Speaking of staff… 

Uber As A Collective

New York City Drivers Cooperative Aims to Smash Uber’s Exploitative Model

  • InTheseTime’s has a story about “a rideshar­ing app that you can feel good about” 
  • The service, called Driver’s Co-operative, has been in development for the last year, and is launching in 2021 in New York
  • Driver’s Co-op aims to feature all the services and convenience of ride sharing apps Uber and Lyft, without the rider’s guilt. 
  • The service will take 15% of fees from the driver, which is 10% less than Uber and Lyft, while organising to pay for petrol and servicing of its drivers cars, something that Uber and Lyft don’t offer. 
  • And at the end of 2021, any funds left over from the kitty will be returned to all drivers, as dividends. 
  • Ken Lewis, a co-founder of Driver’s Co-op, says “The way the [Uber] mod­el is orga­nized is extrac­tive. It takes out the mon­ey and doesn’t give back much. Imag­ine a com­pa­ny that doesn’t have any prof­its, but has cre­at­ed bil­lion­aires,” Lewis says. ​“That mon­ey comes from drivers.” 
  • I’ve been watching this for the last year, and similar community car share services in cities like Austin, Texas. I’d love to see this here. 

Salesforce buying Slack – Another Argument for Antitrust? 

The dark reality behind Slack’s billion-dollar sale to Salesforce

  • Last week Slack announced that it would sell itself to tech behemoth Salesforce for a whopping $27.7 billion. 
  • Fast Company points out that CEO Stuart Butterfield had previously made clear that, despite new competition from Microsoft’s largely copycat product Teams, it wanted to remain independent.
  • They argue “Slack’s decision to be acquired by Salesforce indicates a “defensive” acquisition, where a company is no longer able to compete independently against the tech giants. 
  • These giants, armed with nearly limitless funds and extensive client relationships, frequently abuse their advantage and bully smaller upstarts into oblivion. Even Slack could not stay independent in a match-up against Microsoft. 

Twitter Acquires Squad – A screen sharing app 

Twitter acquires screen-sharing social app Squad

  • In news I’m getting too old for this, yesterday Twitter purchased a social media service I’d never heard of before. 
  • The app is Squad, and lets users video chat and share their screen in a fun, colourful way 
  • Beta versions of the Twitter app showed a “chatroom” like interface and audio sharing, so the company was clearly interested in adding features like this to its app 
  • By purchasing Squad, it has bought the expertise of the team, and just like our Slack story above, it has quashed competition before it had a chance to take over. 
  • Squad users are pretty angry, the service was immediately shuttered when Twitter bought it. 
  • Tech crunch story reminds us that Twitter shutdown Vine and those upset users later “rallied behind TikTok, a massive success story and perhaps one of the biggest missed opportunities for American social media companies.”