BUSINESS

Airbnb Gained A Very Powerful Friend In Warren Buffett

02/28/2015 02:21 pm ET | Updated Feb 28, 2015
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Warren Buffett is a fan of Airbnb.

The billionaire business magnate, who serves as chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, endorsed the room-sharing startup in a Saturday morning letter to shareholders.

The so-called Oracle of Omaha suggested the 7-year-old service, which allows users to rent lodging to each other for short periods of time, as an alternative to hotel rooms for attendees of his annual conference in Nebraska’s largest city.

Expecting record attendance, Buffett said he enlisted Airbnb to help obtain extra listings in Omaha around the time of the May conference.

“Airbnb’s services may be especially helpful to shareholders who expect to spend only a single night in Omaha and are aware that last year a few hotels required guests to pay for a minimum of three nights,” he wrote. “That gets expensive. Those people on a tight budget should check the Airbnb website.”

Airbnb said it was thankful for the support.

"Once again, we are thrilled to gain the support of Warren Buffett as we help the residents of Omaha open their homes to travelers for the annual shareholder's meeting," Maria Parra Rodriguez, an Airbnb spokeswoman, told The Huffington Post. "Not only does hosting provide guests with a unique, local experience, it also generates supplemental income for hosts that can help in many ways.”

The company has faced challenges in recent months. In October, New York’s attorney general released a report claiming that three-quarters of Airbnb’s listings in New York City were illegal.

Still, Airbnb has ponied onward. The company is raising an enormous round of funding that would value it at $20 billion, according to a report published on Friday by TechCrunch.

This story has been updated with a comment from Airbnb.

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