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Airbnb raises $1.5 billion, valuing it at an eye-popping $25.5 billion

Originally posted on Fortune:
The pace of the race to the top of Fortune‘s Unicorn List continues to hasten as startups raise ever-larger sums of money to fuel growth and expansion. Airbnb, the well-known home rental service headquartered in San Francisco, has closed a new $1.5 billion funding round, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. The round, which has been rumored for weeks, values the company at $25.5 billion—billions more than publicly traded neighbor Twitter [fortune-stock symbol=”TWTR”], which had raised far less ahead of its highly anticipated 2013 IPO, and hotel giant Marriott [fortune-stock symbol=”MAR”], which runs more than 4,000 properties around the globe. At the time of its previous investment earlier this year, investors valued Airbnb at $20 billion. Among venture-backed startups, only Chinese phonemaker Xiaomi and car-hailing service Uber carry higher valuations. Investors backing the young company this time reportedly include General Atlantic, Hillhouse Capital Group, Tiger Global Management, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, GGV Capital, China Broadband Capital, and Horizon Ventures. “Airbnb is like a giant ship,”…