Power to the User

Airbnb’s Brian Chesky said that the popular marketplace is now seeing 500,000 people per night and is on track to get to 800,000 to 1 million people per night by the end of the year. At that volume, and assuming two people per night on average, Airbnb would be seeing 184 million bookings per year, in my opinion. Several research firms and analysts, including us, are estimating the average booking per night to be in the $100 range, and with Airbnb’s ~11% take rate, it implies a $2 billion net revenue run-rate by the end of this year.

With no real competitor in sight, and a mostly “outdated” $550 billion hotel industry, Airbnb is well positioned to capture a significant portion over the next five to ten years, in my opinion.

Another one in the category “friendly to the user” is DocuSign, the software application that allows users to create a digital signature for official use. In the old world, you’d get a document emailed, you’d print it out, sign it, scan it, and send it back by email…and likely be tired and brain dead from the hustle. In modern times, you get a document sent, you click on the DocuSign option, click to add your signature, and then click to send it back…all in less than a minute.

DocuSign has been gaining strong traction in the business world and has grown from 10 million users in late 2011, to over 50 million users from 188 countries today — about a 56% user CAGR over the past 3.5 years. Over the past few weeks, the San Francisco-based startup raised $278 million in a Series F financing at a $3 billion valuation from Dell Ventures, Intel Capital and others. Existing investors include Google Ventures, Accel, Kleiner Perkins, Iqonic Capital and others.

Other interesting Bubblin news last week include Snapchat raising a new $537 million at a rumored $16 billion valuation, and also investing in shopping app Sprig. This would make sense given Snapchat’s focus on expanding its popular and growing marketplace. Last year, Snapchat initiated in-app payment options, which would fit perfectly with a possible Sprig integration. With over 100 million daily active users in developed countries alone (and possibly over 200 million monthly active users) Snapchat continues to march forward in big steps.

Meanwhile, Facebook Messenger is looking to expand outside of the friends network and is testing and allowing users to contact with non-friends by using a Messenger ID. This marks yet another step for Facebook to be heading towards its goal of connecting the entire World. (Disclosure: GSV owns shares in Facebook)

As published in this week’s A 2 Apple http://bit.ly/1csdIWu