Sep 20, 2019

New York City is making Airbnb investors nervous pre-IPO

The Airbnb logo on a tablet screen. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Amid plans to go public in 2020, Airbnb is still sparring with New York City in its latest battle over illegally listed short-term rentals, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Investors want the company "to sort things out with New York" before filing for its IPO, according to Bloomberg — but "Airbnb has been at odds with New York for almost its entire existence."

By the numbers: Airbnb, which operates in more than 500 cities around the world, says that New York currently represents 1% of the company's revenue. The city generates roughly $70 million of Airbnb's $5 billion in annual global revenue, a person familiar with the situation told Bloomberg.

What to watch: New York lawyers and Airbnb will meet on Sept. 27 to discuss the company's latest lawsuit against the city, which could end with the San Francisco tech company being forced to hand over hosts' names and addresses each month.

  • That would allow New York to fine those breaking the law, and potentially let Airbnb "legitimize its market in New York and soothe investors worried about greater upheaval," per Bloomberg.

What they're saying: “New York is a marathon and not a sprint. We will ultimately get across the finish line," Airbnb’s global head of policy, Chris Lehane, told Bloomberg.

  • “This issue festered and festered and has gotten to a point now that Airbnb has lost all political leverage,” venture capitalist and former political strategist Bradley Tusk told Bloomberg. “Can you ring the bell in a city where you’re not legal? It would be pretty damn awkward.”

Go deeper: Airbnb highlights S.F. growth after implementing host registration

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SF considers a new office to manage "emerging technologies"

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

San Francisco legislators have a new idea to tackle all the new tech that roams around their streets: an Office of Emerging Technologies that would dole out approvals to startups and companies wishing to unleash new gadgets and services on the city.

Why it matters: San Francisco is home to many tech companies that aim to reshape urban life, but the city has often seemed ill-prepared to deal with them, whether by welcoming or regulating them.

Go deeperArrowOct 14, 2019

NYC council votes to shut down Rikers Island

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The New York City Council approved a measure on Thursday to shutter Rikers Island jail complex by 2026, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Supporters say closing the jail complex, which housed nearly 10,000 beds, "puts New York City at the forefront of a national movement to reverse decades of mass incarceration that disproportionately affected black and Hispanic people," the Times notes. The institution was known for inmate abuse, mismanagement and neglect.

Go deeperArrowOct 17, 2019

Vox Media acquires New York Magazine parent company

Vox Media

Vox Media, the D.C.-based digital media company that's home to several popular internet brands, like Polygon, Eater, SB Nation and others, agreed to acquire New York Media, the parent company to New York Magazine, on Tuesday in an all-stock transaction. Deal terms were not disclosed.

Why it matters: New York Media has been in the hands of a private family trust for years. Its sale underscores a growing trend of media companies consolidating either for stability, survival or growth.

Go deeperArrowSep 25, 2019