These Airbnb Founders Have Sold More Than $1 Billion in Stock Combined in the Past Year
Airbnb shares have been on a roller coaster since the online home rental company went public in December 2020. Shares rose in the second half of last year, peaking at just over $207 in November . Now they are trading around 50% lower, following the decline of many US stocks. One of Airbnb’s three billionaire co-founders has continued to sell stocks every month despite the stock falling.
Since June 15, 2021, Joe Gebbia, who heads the nonprofit arm of Airbnb, has sold 5 million shares worth $713 million. He was selling at a rate of 200,000 to 700,000 shares a month as recently as this month, parting with 8% of his stake in the company. After taxes, Forbes estimates that Gebbia made at least $450 million. According to documents filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, these transactions were part of a predetermined trading plan.
The only exception was March of this year, when Gebbia sold 1.4 million shares for a pre-tax total of $215 million. It is unclear if his trading plan has been changed or if he has created a new one. The second offers stricter disclosure rules on trading plans predetermined in December last year, but have yet to approve them.
“Outside of that spread, it looks like he’s following this monthly selling strategy,” says Daniel Taylor, an accounting professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. “This $200 million sale, we don’t know if that was his intention when he signed the plan a long time ago or if it was a last minute change.”
Its co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb’s chief strategy officer, sold $482 million worth of company stock in the second half of 2021, about 3.5% of his stake, also as part of a business plan predetermined. Between sales of Gebbia and Blecharczyk, the two billionaires have offloaded $1.2 billion worth of stock since mid-June 2021, according to SEC filings. But unlike Gebbia, Blecharczyk hasn’t sold any shares so far this year.
After the sales, Gebbia owns 9% and Blecharczyk owns 10% of the company, but they each control more than 20% of the company’s voting rights, according to Airbnb’s April proxy. statement. Forbes estimates Gebbia’s net worth at $6.5 billion and Blecharczyk’s at $6.2 billion as of June 24.
Unlike Gebbia and Blecharczyk’s moves, Airbnb’s third co-founder, CEO Brian Chesky, hasn’t sold a single stock in the past year. Chesky last sold $30 million worth of stock in the IPO. Chesky, which owns 11% of Airbnb, is worth about $8.2 billion as of Friday’s market close.
An Airbnb spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment from Forbes regarding share sales. While it’s unclear why Gebbia and Blecharczyk are selling so many stocks, the two have invested in a handful of startups. True to his Airbnb roots, Blecharczyk is an investor in Swimply, a startup that lets users list their pools for rent by the hour. According to Pitchbook, Gebbia is backed by Studio, which offers 30-day online lessons from singer Charlie Puth and acapella band Pentatonix (and is also backed by Quibi founder Jeffrery Katzenberg), as well as the brand London-based menswear company. Vollabek. Gebbia may have also used some of the money to buy a minority stake in the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs in January. A team spokesperson did not comment on Gebbia’s participation.
Neither Gebbia nor Blecharczyk have foundations for their philanthropy, although both have signed the Giving Pledge, a pledge to donate the majority of their fortune to charitable causes. In March, the three Airbnb founders matched donations of up to $10 million to support refugees fleeing Ukraine. In May, Gebbia said he would give every graduate of his high school in Georgia 22 Airbnb shares during his commencement speech. He also pledged $700,000 to help strengthen the school’s arts department and cross-country team and in June 2021, he donated $5 million to the nonprofit arm of Airbnb, Airbnb.org.
While Airbnb’s share price has been hammered in recent months, its underlying business has since improved. dismissed nearly 2,000 people in May 2020. Last month, the company said bookings on the peer-to-peer home rental site have surpassed pre-pandemic levels. The company posted a net loss of $352 million for 2021 on revenue of nearly $6 billion in 2021. For the first quarter of 2022, revenue reached $1.5 billion – a jump of 40% compared to the first quarter of 2021 – and net loss narrowed to around $19 million from $1.17 billion in the year-ago quarter.