$25 billion startup Airbnb launches in SA

Airbnb has launched in South Africa, with CEO Brian Chesky visiting the country on 27 July to announce their plans to accelerate its growth.

The service lets people list accommodation for rent – including rooms in their homes. Users can then book listed lodgings online.

Renters and visitors can then leave reviews for one another on the website.

In June, CNN Money reported that Airbnb is raising $1.5 billion, giving the company a valuation of $25.5 billion.

According to Airbnb, South Africa is its largest market in Africa.

“South Africa is an incredibly beautiful and diverse country, with so much to offer visitors,” said Chesky.

Nicola D’Elia was named as general manager for the region. Previously, D’Elia was responsible for Facebook’s growth and partnerships in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Airbnb said that D’Elia will build a team to accelerate the service’s growth in Africa and the Middle East.

While Airbnb only officially launched on 27 July, the service has been available to South Africans who wanted to list accommodation for rent.

The company highlighted the following statistics, which it said reflects its growth over the last 12 months:

  • South Africa is currently the largest market for Airbnb in Africa with 9,400 homes listed. Johannesburg has just over 1,000 listings.
  • South Africa is becoming an increasingly popular global destination, with the number of people staying in places booked through Airbnb in SA increasing by 257%.
  • South Africans are embracing the service, with those using Airbnb to travel increasing by 163%.
  • While most South Africans who have used Airbnb have traveled within the country, the most popular international destinations include the US, Italy, France, and the UK.
  • Across Africa, two of the five largest markets for Airbnb are in South Africa -­­ Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Chesky said Airbnb plans to expand further across the African continent, with listings in the region increasing by 145%, while the number of Africans using Airbnb to travel has increased by 139%.

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$25 billion startup Airbnb launches in SA