Airbnb: We're Here To Stay, Says Billionaire As Rental Website Is Accused Of Evading Rules And Tax
Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of controversial global lodging startup, insists company is a force for good and wants to help authorities adapt to its new technology
Nathan Blecharczyk, a co-founder of Airbnb who is also one of the world's youngest, newest billionaires, said that the company was a force for good – and was here to stay.
Airbnb would ride out the backlash from regulators and critics because its business model has spread around the world and the genie could not be "put back in the bottle", he said. "There are millions of people who have experienced something that they feel very passionate about and want," he said. "There is no erasing that knowledge. And there are, frankly, many other websites where you can do exactly the same thing. And many more that will come along in the future. So I don't think there's any way to put it back in the bottle."
Seated in Airbnb's new downtown headquarters, a sunlit atrium with a coffee bar and skateboards for the staff of mostly twentysomethings, Blecharczyk, 30, said authorities would have to recognise that this part of the "sharing economy" was sprouting deep roots. Airbnb, which is now valued at $10bn, offers accommodation in more than 40,000 cities in more than 160 countries. A guest checks in somewhere using Airbnb every two seconds.
"Step one is to speak to the times," said Blecharczyk, a lanky and affable figure who co-founded the company in 2008, along with Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia.
"There is this thing that's happening and clearly it's providing a lot of value to guests and hosts. It's a trend that's not going to go away."