A legendary venture-capital firm bought Airbnb shares for 1 cent each in 2009

  • Airbnb's stock price soared to about $145 during its stock-market debut on Thursday.
  • Sequoia Capital invested $585,000 in the home-rental platform for around 58 million shares in 2009, paying about 1 cent a share, The Information reported.
  • The venture-capital fund has plowed a total of $280 million into Airbnb over the years, giving it a stake worth almost $12 billion at the close on Thursday.
  • Sequoia backed Airbnb when it had only 2,500 listings on its website; it had 5.6 million active listings at the end of September.
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Airbnb's stock price more than doubled to about $145 on Thursday, valuing the home-rental platform at north of $85 billion on its first day of trading. One of the company's earliest backers paid just one cent a share when it invested in April 2009.

Sequoia Capital — a storied venture-capital fund that counts Apple, Google, and Instagram among its past investments — handed Airbnb a seed investment of $585,000 for around 58 million shares, according to The Information. It participated in several later funding rounds, ultimately spending about $280 million for nearly 82 million shares, which were worth close to $12 billion on Thursday.

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The return on Sequoia's initial investment is astronomical, and its total $280 million bet has paid off handsomely too. It spent an average of $3.40 on shares worth about $145 each on Thursday — a roughly 43-fold gain.

Sequoia has been richly rewarded for recognizing the potential of Airbnb when it was less than a year old. When it first invested almost $600,000, Airbnb had 2,500 listings and 10,000 registered users, the firm said in a blog post. The platform had 5.6 million active listings and more than 4 million hosts as of September 30 this year.

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