Airbnb’s cash numbers could show that it’s not another WeWork in the making

Real Estate

Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb, speaks to the Economic Club of New York at a luncheon at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. March 13, 2017.

Mike Segar | Reuters

Airbnb, the room-sharing site that plans to go public next year, has more than $3 billion on its balance sheet, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Following a report from the Information earlier on Thursday, which showed the company’s loss doubled in the first quarter from a year earlier, Airbnb’s cash position could soothe investors concerned that the company is poised to be the next WeWork.

In addition to the $3 billion on its balance sheet, which is down from about $3.5 billion as of the end of March, the company has never touched its $1 billion line of credit, said the person, who asked not to be named because the numbers are confidential. 

Airbnb, a website that connects homeowners with travelers, is a much different type of business than WeWork, which leases massive office buildings and rents out the space. Still, in an environment where public market investors are dumping shares of cash-burning companies Lyft and Uber and rejecting WeWork’s numbers, Airbnb needs to show the market that it has a much different story to tell about a path to profitability. 

According to the Information, which cited undisclosed financial data, Airbnb’s sales and marketing investments rose 58% year over year to $367 million in the first quarter and marketing spend is expected to come in above the $1.1 billion spent in 2018. Revenue reportedly grew 31% from a year earlier to $839 million, while expenses climbed 47%.

In a statement about the earlier report, Airbnb said, “We can’t comment on the figures, but 2019 is a big investment year in support of our hosts and guests.”

CNBC’s Ari Levy contributed to this report

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