Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said Tuesday that both he and his company will remain in California despite a recent exodus of leading tech firms who have fled Silicon Valley due to concerns about a restrictive business environment.
Chesky addressed his plans for the company in response to a question from Politico writer Carla Marinucci, who asked if he planned to follow other business leaders exiting the state. The Airbnb co-founder described California as a “special place” and said he recently spoke to Gov. Gavin Newsom about his plans to stay.
“When I came to San Francisco, I was taken by the unique culture - people believed almost anything was possible, and they were willing to believe in a 26-year-old and his two friends with a crazy idea to let strangers live together,” Chesky wrote. “I don’t think I would have succeeded in the same way if not for the people I met here.”
Airbnb has surged in popularity and value since it was founded in San Francisco in 2008. The online vacation rental marketplace’s valuation doubled to more than $83 billion when it began public trading on NASDAQ last week despite concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic’s lingering impact on the travel industry.
Chesky endorsed California as a hub for innovation despite sharp criticism from other business leaders in recent months.
One of California’s most prominent detractors was Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who publicly criticized state leadership who enacting stringent restrictions on businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Musk has warned that Tesla could relocate to a more welcoming business environment and disclosed earlier this month that he has moved to Texas.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Oracle also recently announced plans to move their headquarters from Silicon Valley to Texas.