James Dennin, Kapitall: If Airbnb secures its next round of funding, it will be more valuable than most established hotel stocks in the world.
The company, which matches travelers with locals who have extra rooms, might be close to securing a next round of funding. The new cash would give Airbnb a valuation of more than $10 billion.
[Read more from Kapitall: Will these 6 (mostly) pure robotics stocks be a safe play in 2014?]That would put it easily amongst the most valuable startup companies in the world. But the real kicker isn't that it would beat out most startups: it would beat out most of the major players in the hospitality industry. Of the 15 publicly traded lodging stocks, only 3 have a market cap that exeeds $10 billion. If the funding goes through, Airbnb would be more valuable than huge companies like Hyatt (H) and Intercontinental Hotels (IHG). These are firms with a lot of expensive assets that includes real estate all over the world. This indicates just how far the startup has come from the spamming, craigslist poaching, wildly unreliable company that matched strangers up with a free couch. Circumstances have changed since dealing with earlier controversies, and the company now has the deep pockets it needs to handle problems swiftly and carefully. When an angry New York renter came home early to find a full-blown party and more than 20K in damages, Airbnb calmed him down and quickly cut him a check. As Airbnb reigns in its liabilities and recruits more clients and customers, it's only a matter of time before traditional hospitality stocks start to sweat about their low-cost rival. Here's a list of publicly traded hotel stocks with market caps near or above Airbnb's speculated $10 billion plus valuation.