- Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a blog post Wednesday that the company is partnering with former Apple design chief Jony Ive.
- “We have made the decision to work together through a multi-year relationship to design the next generation of Airbnb products and services,” Chesky said.
- Ive led Apple through major product launches like the iMac and iPhone, and Apple Watch, leading its design team from 1996 until stepping down last year to start his own firm LoveFrom.
- Airbnb was initially rocked by travel slowing down this spring, its valuation reportedly dropping by 40%, but experts say it could boom post-pandemic, and it filed its IPO paperwork in August.
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Airbnb is teaming up with Jony Ive, the iconic former Apple design chief, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced in a blog post Wednesday.
“Jony and his partners at LoveFrom will be engaging in a special collaboration with me and the Airbnb team,” Chesky said. “We have made the decision to work together through a multi-year relationship to design the next generation of Airbnb products and services.”
Chesky also said Ive would help Airbnb “continue to develop our internal design team.”
Ive left Apple in June 2019 to start his own firm, LoveFrom, after leading the company’s design team since 1996, steering it through hallmark product launches such as the iMac in 1998, the iPhone in 2007, and the Apple Watch in 2014.
Chesky and Joe Gebbia, two of Airbnb’s three co-founders, attended the Rhode Island School of Design together prior to launching the vacation-rental platform and have frequently spoken about how they take a “design-driven approach” at Airbnb, as Chesky put it Wednesday.
Airbnb was rocked by the pandemic earlier this year as travel ground to a halt, leading Chesky to lay off 1,900 employees — around 25% of the company’s workforce — and investors to reportedly slash the travel giant’s valuation by more than 40%, from $31 billion to $18 billion.
But experts say Airbnb could be well-positioned to rebound strongly following the pandemic, saying it has a proven business model, dominates its market, and unlike the hotel chains with which it competes, can adapt quickly to changing demand.
After months of uncertainty around its plans to go public sometime in 2020, Airbnb confidentially filed its paperwork for an initial public offering in August. The company is seeking to raise around $3 billion, which could make it one of the largest public offerings of 2020, Reuters reported earlier this month.