Airbnb has filed documents to go public.

Angela Lang / CNET

Airbnb, the rental company, said Wednesday it filed confidential documents to go public. This is a milestone for a technology pioneer who has helped usher in a new generation of startups in Silicon Valley.

Founded in 2008, the company played a key role in popularizing the so-called sharing economy, in which people list their homes, cars or services on technical platforms for use. Uber and Lyft, other marquee players that emerged from this model, went public last year.

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In a blog post, Airbnb said the amount and price range of its shares "have not yet been determined". The company declined to comment beyond its initial announcement.

The filing comes amid a brutal year for the travel industry in the face the coronavirus pandemic. Airbnb, which at one point had a private value of $ 31 billion, was particularly hard hit when the world's economies closed and people canceled trips and started seeking refuge.

In May the company was said it would be fired 1,900 of its employees – a quarter of the company – are one of the largest mass layoffs for a company in Silicon Valley since the pandemic began. At the time, CEO Brian Chesky told employees that this year's revenue would be less than half the company's 2019 revenue, which was reportedly $ 4.8 billion.

But the company's business appears to be improving as people start traveling again and look for private land rentals where they can avoid large groups of people. Last month, Airbnb said that rural US hosts made over $ 200 million this June, up more than 25% over the same period in 2019.

Founded by Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia, the company quickly became a darling of the Silicon Valley startup scene. Airbnb started during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, where people gathered to see then-candidate Barack Obama's historic nomination, but couldn't find hotel rooms. The company eventually joined the elite club of startups known as the unicorns valued at $ 1 billion or more.

Like many of its peers in the sharing economy, Airbnb ran an audit for fighting regulators and promoting security controversy. Last year the company said it would review all of its listings and make other security improvements after five people were killed during a Halloween party at a California rental.

CNET's Dara Kerr contributed to this report.


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