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Airbnb’s Valuation Spike, And IPO Chatter Redux

Unicorns get a new member

In unicorn land, one of the biggest beasts just got a lot bigger.

That would be Airbnb, of course, which in its latest capital raise of $850 million fetched an implied $30 billion, which outstrips nicely the valuation seen last year at roughly this time at $25 billion. The short-term rental firm has been riding a wave of demand that obviously has backers, new and old, interested in putting their money behind the firm. The legal wrangling that has confronted the company in the wake of housing markets ostensibly becoming overheated has not deterred fresh capital. 

Other startups are in expansion mode as well, with meal delivery service Blue Apron subletting 43,000 square feet in New York City, with the Real Deal reporting that the company has taken the space, but with the intent to put a permanent headquarters move on hold.   

And in IPO news, in the wake of the Twilio and Line debuts that captured attention and investor dollars, the buzz has started again surrounding food takeaway firm Delivery Hero which may – or may not — go public. The firm’s CEO told a German media firm that company may bow on the public markets as early as next year. The firm is among the holdings of Rocket Internet, and actually boasts a positive bottom line. Yet the old caution is there, as market conditions must be right for new issues to come to market, including Delivery Hero, said the executive.  

MapR said it had raised $50 million in equity financing in a bid that some observers said could lead to an IPO at some point down the line. The Big Data firm said it had gotten the capital through a round led by FutureFund, among others and the total tally raised comes to $194 million in equity financing.

What of mergers and acquisitions? That activity got a boost too in recent days as Walmart inked a $3.3 billion deal to buy Jet.com, and Apple bought Turi, a machine learning firm, for an undisclosed sum. Valuations have been trending downward for tech firms in the private space and this means that some companies may become appetizing for strategic acquirers.

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