Billion-Dollar Startup Receives Unsolicited Advice From Non-Investor

Fred Wilson mic drop in 3...2...

We hope Airbnb is paying attention to TechCrunch's Disrupt NY conference, because a dude with no rooting interest in its success thinks the company making a huge mistake.

The Silicon Valley-based startup has pulled down almost $800 million by openly f*cking with the hospitality industry, a business model that has caused them to face major opposition form New York City regulators long-trained in the habit of protecting the hotel trades.

Basically, the powers that be in the Big Apple want Airbnb to hand over its data, a cache of information that details the behaviors of Airbnb users on both sides of transactions that New York lawmakers have deemed as illegal.

Airbnb has, rather understandably, refused. A decision that has little impact on making NYC an enormous profit center for Airbnb.

But in a discussion at today's Disrupt NY conference, famed venture capitalist and CEO of Union Square Ventures, Fred Wilson, took a contrary stance to Airbnb's actions so far and told them to stop acting like punks.

“On the other hand, if they did hand over the data they could resolve a lot of concerns,” Wilson countered. “Companies could use data to make clear that the fears are unfounded. I would encourage companies to share data as much as possible.” 

Silicon Alley's biggest sugar daddy was essentially arguing that for sharing economy startups to be taken seriously, they need to be more transparent with what exactly they're up to.

The argument against Wilson's call for transparency would be that many sharing economy startups are valued more for the proprietary information that they collect than the services they provide. For thriving entities like Airbnb and Uber, sharing data is tantamount to giving away money.

Wilson is an investor in neither Airbnb nor Uber, but he has invested in some of their less successful rivals. So there's that.

Should On-Demand Startups Share More Data To Quell Legal Fears? Ron Conway, Fred Wilson Weigh In [TechCrunch]