Job Creation

South Dakota Economic Development Board Lands $10M Polaris Expansion

Snowmobile, ATV and electric vehicle maker Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) announced that they will be spending $10 million for capital improvements at their distribution center in Vermillion, SD.

Polaris PG&A

Polaris PG&A (photo – polaris.com)

Aided by funding approved by the South Dakota Economic Development Board, Polaris is making significant upgrades to the material-handling systems at the Vermillion Parts, Garments and Accessories (PG&A) Distribution Center.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard said that the decision by Polaris to invest in the Vermillion facility speaks volumes about South Dakota’s strong business climate. The Governor said that whenever state programs can be used for assisting a company during its expansion, he is pleased to do so.

The company is undertaking the upgrades to meet increased demand and ensure the Vermillion distribution center’s long-term viability. The investment therefore helps secure the future of the 150 employees at the 385,000-square-foot distribution center who ship more than 60,000 PG&A products to the company’s customers, distributors and dealers in 130 countries.

This is the second major investment made by Polaris at the Vermillion distribution center in the last few years. In 2008, the company doubled the size of the distribution center, adding 128,000 square feet of space to the existing 256,000 square feet.

At that time, the company said they decided to expand in Vermillion because of the low cost of doing business in South Dakota, support from the local community in Vermillion, and the flexibility of the workforce, adding that the University of South Dakota provides the company with ample temporary and part-time labor.

Announcing the new $10 million investment, Steve Eastman, vice president of Parts, Garments and Accessories, Polaris, said the improvements being made will create efficiencies that notably enhance the Vermillion Distribution Center’s throughput.

Eastman added that the investment is a sign of their commitment to the facility, community and their strong and vibrant workforce. He also said they were grateful to the State of South Dakota and the City of Vermillion for their support as the company invests in their shared future.

The South Dakota Board of Economic Development has approved funding for the Polaris expansion project under the state’s Reinvestment Payment Program. This funding will help cover some of the upfront costs of the capital improvements being undertaken by Polaris.The company is also getting a workforce development grant for employee training.

The Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and Development Company (VCCDC) and the City of Vermillion have furthermore teamed up to offer the company additional incentives. The VCCDC and the City put together a package of incentives for this project in conjunction with the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) programs.

DC Group Expansion Facilitated by Minnesota Job Creation Fund

Minneapolis-based DC Group is planning an expansion with the help of economic development incentives being provided through the recently launched Minnesota Job Creation Fund.

Minnesota Job Creation Fund

Minnesota Job Creation Fund (photo – mn.gov)

The DC Group, which provides uninterruptible power supply (UPS) service and maintenance to clients all over North America, already has a 26,000-square-foot building which houses their headquarters, sales offices and research and reconditioning facilities.

Their operations have outgrown this space, but the company still wants to stay in the same location. They will, therefore, invest $6.2 million to construct a 27,000-square-foot expansion to the same building.

DC Group expects to create at least 33 new full-time jobs with average wages of $20 per hour. The company already has 62 existing employees.

The City of Minneapolis is facilitating the project with a planned Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District under which $872,900 of the project cost may be paid through tax increment revenues associated with the expansion.

State level incentives are being provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in the form of $535,000 from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund, subject to the company meeting its performance goals.

The Minnesota Job Creation Fund was proposed by Governor Mark Dayton last year, and was launched earlier this year with $24 million in initial funding.

Gov. Dayton said that some people think there is no role for government in economic development, but these 33 new and good-paying jobs being created in North Minneapolis through this expansion are proof positive that public-private partnerships are good for business and for the economy.

The Job Creation Fund provides up to $1 million for qualified projects undertaken by eligible businesses. The company has to work with the local government to get designated as a JCF business. The project in question also needs to create at least 10 full-time jobs and involve an investment of at least $500,000 in order to be eligible for financial assistance from JCF.

Minnesota Economic Development Department Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said that expanding companies like the DC Group highlight the type of game-changing technology offers Minnesota has, and added that they were proud to work with this innovative company and assist with their expansion which is adding high-quality jobs to the state’s workforce.

Irving, TX Hoping to Attract 7-Eleven Headquarters Relocation

The City of Irving, TX and the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce are working with 7-Eleven, Inc. to facilitate the relocation of the company’s headquarters to the Cypress Waters master-planned development.

Cypress Waters

Cypress Waters (photo – cypresswatersapts.com)

7-Eleven would be establishing an office campus in a new 300,000-square-foot building, and making use of a 500-car parking garage and additional surface parking space in the new 1,000-acre Cypress Waters development five minutes from DFW International Airport.

The company anticipates relocating up to 1,250 jobs from its current headquarters location in Dallas. These would be high-paying corporate jobs with average annual wages of $100,000.

As per the terms of the economic development agreement proposed by the City of Irving, the company would need to maintain at least 800 employees with average wages of $100,000, and must occupy the facility before Dec 31, 2016.

In return, 7-Eleven will receive a 74 percent rebate on the sales tax generated over the initial 7-year period of the agreement, and an average of 88 percent of the ad valorem tax on the business personal property during initial 6-year period.

This incentive package was taken up for consideration by the City Council as a companion item to another Irving economic development agreement involving Crow-Billingsley 635 Beltline, LTD., a subsidiary created by developer for the Cypress Waters Project.

Crow-Billingsley 635 Beltline will get an average of 87 percent of the real property tax generated during the first 13 years of 7-Eleven’s lease. They will also get sales tax rebates as reimbursement of certain costs associated with road improvements and construction of the parking garage. The total reimbursement for the developer is capped at $3,960,112.

The incentives for Crow-Billingsley 635 Beltline are contingent upon 7-Eleven accepting its own agreement with the City and fulfilling the terms of the agreement thereafter on an annual basis.

7-Eleven Inc. operates, licenses or franchises more than 52,500 stores in 16 countries, including 10,300 stores in North America alone. Approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population lives within a mile of a 7-Eleven store which usually carries about 2,500 items. 7-Eleven sells 2,300 fresh sandwiches per hour and more than a million cups of fresh-brewed coffee every day. Every year, they sell around 100 million fresh-grilled hot dogs and 41 million gallons of milk.

Ohio TCA Approves Incentives For Economic Development Projects Impacting 2676 Jobs

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) has reviewed economic development projects submitted by JobsOhio and its regional partners, and approved tax credits for 15 projects under the Job Creation Tax Credit (JCTC) program.

Ohio Development

Ohio Development (photo – development.ohio.gov)

The 15 projects together represent capital investments worth more than $87.2 million across Ohio, and the companies involved are creating 664 new jobs with $28.4 million in new payroll, in addition to helping retain 2,012 jobs.

One of the projects approved for state assistance is an expansion by Matrix Technologies, Inc. in the City of Maumee, OH. The company, which makes industrial control systems, is creating 75 new full-time jobs and adding $4.9 million in new payroll, in addition to their existing $12.2 million payroll.

Matrix Technologies’ expansion project has been approved for a 50 percent JCTC for six years.

Food packaging and distribution company L&L Foods Holdings, LLC is relocating to a new site in the City of Wilmington, OH. As a result of the relocation, the company is able to create 100 new jobs with $2.4 million in addition payroll.

L&L Foods was also approved for a six-year 50 percent JCTC by the Ohio TCA.

Oatey Co., which manufactures plumbing industry products, is expanding in the City of Cleveland, OH. The company will create 80 new full-time jobs, adding $3.9 million in new payroll to their existing $21.5 million payroll.

The TCA has approved Oatey Co.’s expansion project for a 45 percent JCTC for seven years.

Architecture and design firm NBBJ LLC is expanding in the City of Columbus, OH and expects to create 16 new jobs with a new payroll of $1.3 million, in addition to retaining their existing employees who account for a payroll of $8 million. NBBJ is getting a 25 percent JCTC for five years.

WHAPPS L.L.C., which puts together loyalty marketing programs for federal agencies and Fortune 1000 companies, is expanding its operations in the City of Cincinnati, OH and will be creating 18 new jobs with a new payroll of $1.1 million, which will take their total payroll to $3 million. WHAPPS is getting a 45 percent JCTC for a period of six years for this project.

The remaining ten projects approved for Ohio economic development incentives for job creation are listed below.

Kimball Midwest in Columbus, OH – 50 new jobs; $1.9 million in new payroll and $18.2 million in existing payroll; approved for a 40 percent, six-year JCTC.

Cast Nylons Co. Ltd. in Willoughby, OH – 20 new jobs; $1 million in new payroll and $5 million in existing payroll; approved for a 40 percent, five-year JCTC.

National Automotive Experts, LLC in Strongsville, OH – 30 new jobs; $1.3 million in new payroll and $3.6 million in existing payroll; approved for a 40 percent, five-year JCTC.

Continental Structural Plastics, Inc. in the Village of Carey, OH – 50 new jobs; $1.6 million in new payroll and $30.2 million in existing payroll; approved for a 50 percent, six-year JCTC.

Just Packaging Inc. in Toledo, OH – 30 new jobs; $936,000 in new payroll and $350,697 in existing payroll; approved for a 540 percent, seven-year JCTC.

Perham Egg Ohio LLC in the Village of Fort Recovery, OH – 41 new jobs; $1.4 million in new payroll; approved for a 45 percent, six-year JCTC.

Allermuir USA in Monclova Township – 56 new jobs; $2.9 million in new payroll and $3.5 million in existing payroll; approved for a 55 percent, eight-year JCTC.

Tour de Force CRM, Inc. in Findlay, OH – 21 new jobs; $1.3 million in new payroll and $1.6 million in existing payroll; approved for a 50 percent, six-year JCTC.

Fecon, Inc. in Lebanon, OH – 25 new jobs; $1 million in new payroll and $5.4 million in existing payroll; approved for a 35 percent, six-year JCTC.

Octal Extrusions, Inc. in West Chester Township, OH – 52 new jobs; $1.6 million in new payroll; approved for a 40 percent, seven-year JCTC.

Fort Worth, Texas Signs Economic Development Agreements With Four Companies

The City Council of Fort Worth, Texas has approved economic development agreements for four projects that will pump tens of millions of dollars into the local economy and help create and retain hundreds of jobs.

Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth, TX (photo – fortworthtexas.gov)

MillerCoors, the second largest brewery in the United States, is planning an expansion of its already significant operations in Fort Worth.

MillerCoors has a one million square-foot brewery on a 43-acre site. The company is now planning a three-phase expansion to add machinery and equipment and upgrade the facility.

In the first phase, MillerCoors will be investing $22.5 million by Dec 31 2014, and commits to retaining at least 555 full-time equivalent jobs at the brewery. In the second and third phases, the company will invest another $24.5 million each in 2015 and 2016, for a total of $71.5 million by Dec 31, 2016.

As per the 10-year agreement crafted by the Fort Worth Economic Development Department and approved by the City Council, MillerCoors will get a 50 percent rebate on incremental business personal property taxes.

The value of this incentive works out to around $$735,300 during the 10-year agreement period. If the company goes through with Phase II and III, the value of the tax rebate incentives over the 10-year period will go up to $2.7 million.

The second project that was approved for incentives was an expansion by yogurt maker Dannon Co. The company is expanding to enable addition of new product lines, and will be creating 35 new jobs. The five year agreement approved by the City Council will enable Dannon to save about $320,625 in taxes.

Paulos Properties LLC, which is redeveloping the Texas & Pacific Railway Addition into an office and behavioral health treatment center, is getting a five-year tax abatement under the city’s Neighborhood Empowerment Zone Tax Abatement Policy.

Paulos Properties plans to invest $517,343 into the redevelopment, and will be getting a tax abatement of $4,423.28 per year, or $22,116.41 over the five-year agreement period.

The fourth project approved for incentives is a consolidation by Houston-based Victory Packaging of two of its Dallas facilities into a single new 325,000-square-foot facility. Victory Packaging will be investing $12.5 million and creating at least 60 full-time equivalent jobs by June 2015.

In return, the 10-year economic development agreement between Fort Worth and Victory Packaging L.P. gives the company a 50 percent rebate of city tax on the incremental value of real and business personal property on the new site, and the city has agreed to waive $75,000 in permit fees.

BMW Announces $1B South Carolina Expansion for X7 Production

BMW announced a plan to invest $1 billion for an expansion of the company’s plant in South Carolina to enable production of the BMW X7.

BMW factory in South Carolina

BMW factory in South Carolina (photo – bmwusfactory.com)

As a result of this investment, the Greer plant’s annual production capacity will increase from the current 300,000 to 450,000 vehicles by the end of 2016.

The expansion will create 800 new jobs at the site, taking the total onsite workforce at the BMW Greer plant to 8,800.

BMW Group Chairman Dr. Norbert Reithofer and BMW Manufacturing President Manfred Erlacher were joined for the announcement by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

This is BMW’s first full automobile manufacturing facility outside Germany, and it remains the company’s only manufacturing facility in the U.S.

When BMW first announced their plans for an automobile manufacturing plant in Spartanburg in 1992, it was supposed to be a $500 million project that would establish a 1.5 million-square-foot facility and create 2,000 jobs.

After the fastest startup in automobile history, the first vehicle – a white 318i, rolled out of the plant in Sept 1994. BMW now employs nearly 8,000 people and has invested more than $6 billion into their South Carolina operations, not including this latest $1 billion and the 800 new jobs.

The previous major expansion before this was in 2008, when BMW poured in $750 million and ramped up the total space under roof on the 1,200-acre site to more than four million square feet.

The plant now produces 1,100 vehicles daily, and more than 2.6 million vehicles have rolled out of the plant since that first 318i. In 2013, a total of 297,326 BMW vehicles (X3, X5, X5 M, X6 and X6 M) rolled out of Spartanburg.

Apart from the direct jobs and investment, the ripple effect the plant has on the South Carolina economy is also huge. According to a new study published by the Moore School of Business at USC, the economic impact of BMW’s annual activities in South Carolina exceeds $16.6 billion.

The study concludes that BMW supports more than 30,000 jobs in South Carolina, with more than three jobs created elsewhere in the state when BMW adds a new job.

An earlier study by the Moore School of Business also suggested that BMW’s contribution to South Carolina economic development goes beyond job creation and capital investment, and also enhances the state’s innovative capacity, such as the BMW Information Technology Research Center at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU‐ICAR).

The report also suggests that BMW contributes to South Carolina’s tourism and external exposure due to the presence of the BMW Performance Driving School and the vehicle delivery center at the site that attract thousands of discerning consumers and tourists.

Ford Announces $500M Investment With 300 Jobs for Lima Engine Plant in Ohio

Ford is making economic developers very happy in Ohio. Earlier this month, it was the Cleveland region that was abuzz over Ford moving truck production from Mexico to the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, OH.

Ford Lima Engine Plant factsheet

Ford Lima Engine Plant (photo – ford.com)

This time, it’s the Allen Economic Development Group (AEDG) that will feel the warm glow of a major Ford expansion, because Ford just announced an investment of $500 million for upgrading their Lima Engine Plant in Lima, Ohio.

The expansion will create 300 new jobs at the facility.

The facility upgrade and equipment will enable production of the all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine for the Ford 2015 F-150.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas, said the hardworking Lime Engine team is thrilled to begin building one of the most technologically advanced engines ever designed for the No.1 truck in America.

The $500 million that Ford is spending will go towards establishing a new flexible engine assembly system, and renovation of 700,000 square feet in the facility for assembly and machining functions.

The Lima Engine Plant, which opened in 1957, is already one of the largest employers in Allen County with 825 hourly workers and 123 salaried employees.

The plant has 2.4 million square feet of space across 280 acres – equivalent to 48 football fields. An engine rolls off the assembly line at LEP once every 30 seconds, and the 40millionth engine produced by the plant is scheduled to roll out later this year.

Bruce Hettle, Ford vice president, North America manufacturing, said that Lima Engine has kept Lincoln and Ford vehicles running for nearly 60 years, and bringing production of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine to this plant will help build a solid future for Ford as well as the decided workers in Ohio.

This expansion plan in Lima follows on the heels of an earlier announcement this month that Ford is moving production of their 2016 F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks from Mexico to the Ohio Assembly Plant (OHAP) in Avon Lake near Cleveland.

That move secured the future of more than 1,700 employees at the plant, in addition to a $168 million investment by Ford for retooling.

Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president, National Ford Department, said the 300 new jobs being created at the Lima Engine Plant will provide a major boost to the community, and continue the F-150’s reputation as one of the most American-made vehicles.

Collaboration With GE Brings Quirky and 180 Jobs to Schenectady, NY

NYC-based invention company Quirky is opening a new office in Schenectady, NY. The company is taking up two floors in a downtown building, and plans to create 180 new jobs at the new office within the next three years.

Quirky

Photo – Quirky.com

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said that Quirky’s decision to build a new office in Schenectady means hundreds of jobs for the area and increased business activity in the region.

Quirky was founded in 2009 with a plan to make invention accessible by turning brilliant ideas real people have into a finished product and taking it to the marketplace.

The company is headquartered in New York City, and they have an office in Hong Kong. This latest expansion in Schenectady is the result of a collaboration between Quirky and General Electric.

Quirky and GE teamed up last year to develop a line of app-enabled products dreamed up by Quirky community members from around the world. As of now, they have created five smart products, including the recently launched Aros airconditioner that is WI-Fi enabled.

The two companies plan to continue collaborating and introduce revolutionary products for the connected home marketplace.

GE, formed in 1892 by the merger of Edison General Electric Company with Thomson-Houston Electric Company, was incorporated in Schenectady.

Quirky Founder and CEO Ben Kaufman said that GE and Schenectady gave the world electricity, the steam turbine, the first television broadcast and dozens of other transformative inventions.

Kaufman added that they are really excited about joining this community, which continues to be a world leader in manufacturing and technology, and continue Schenectady’s tradition of innovation.

Mark Little, senior vice president and chief technology officer of GE, said that Quirky’s decision to come to Schenectady will deepen the partnership GE has established with Quirky during the past year.

Little added that the Quirky team’s close proximity to GE engineers and scientists will help them take innovation to the far reaches of crowdsourcing and the Internet to reach inventive minds and spawn great ideas to impact and change our world.

Quirky‚Äôs expansion into Schenectady was facilitated with a package of state and local incentives. Empire State Development (ESD) has offered the company $500,000 in tax credits under the Excelsior Jobs Program, linked to Quirky’s job creation and investment commitments.

The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority which handles Schenectady economic development projects chipped in with a $450,000 grant to help Quirky establish the new office.

Purdue University helps Indiana Land $100M GE Aviation Jet Engine Assembly Facility

GE Aviation will break ground this year on a $100 million jet engine assembly facility in Lafayette, Indiana.

Gov. Mike Pence at GE Aviation jet engine assembly facility announcement in Lafayette, IN

Gov. Mike Pence at GE Aviation jet engine assembly facility announcement in Lafayette, IN (photo – geaviation.com)

The announcement was made jointly by Indiana Governor Mike Pence and David Joyce, president and chief executive officer of GE Aviation.

The 225,000 square-foot plant will be assembling the new LEAP engine from CFM International, and will create up to 200 new jobs by 2020. The new jobs will have average wages of $36 per hour.

CFM is a joint venture between GE Aviation and Snecma, a division of France-based Safran. CFM already has orders and commitments for more than 6,000 LEAP jet engines.

LEAP is still in the development stage, and it won’t even enter service until 2016. LEAP engines will be powering everything from the Airbus A320neo to the Boeing 737 MAX and the COMAC C919.

The new facility in the Park 350 industrial park is located just minutes away from Purdue University in West Lafayette, which has a rich history of collaboration with GE Aviation and its parent General Electric Co. More than 1,200 Purdue alumni are employed by GE, including 400 by GE Aviation.

GE has provided more than $2.5 million in funding for R&D projects at Purdue over the past five years. There has already been a meeting between GE Aviation executives and Purdue leaders about how the university can be aligned more closely with the new Lafayette facility.

GE plans to use the new facility as a catalyst for talent recruitment and identifying research capabilities.

From Indiana’s point of view, the presence of Purdue and its history of collaboration with GE was a big factor in landing this $100 million plant.

Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University, said that in today’s world, a strong research university is the best economic magnet a state can have, and this announcement is the perfect example of that principle in action.

Another factor that helped was the $3.3 million in conditional tax credits offered by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to GE Aviation for facilitating the project.

The company will also get up to $332,000 in training grants to assist with job creation plans. IEDC will furthermore help the community with up to $1.35 million for infrastructure improvements.

Tippecanoe County and the City of Lafayette will consider additional local incentives.

Joyce said they are grateful to the entire Indiana team in ensuring that the Lafayette assembly plant will soon be up and running.

GE already has four other existing facilities in Indiana with a combined workforce of around 1,700. The company distributes more than $440 million through its supply chain in Indiana, helping support another 1,500 supplier jobs.

The Top 5 Companies That Will Go Public in 2014 And What Sets Them Apart

You probably won’t be shocked when I tell you that the companies to pay attention to next year are all tech businesses that don’t offer tangible products, but rather cutting-edge services or modes of communication.

Basically, your stock-trading grandfather would hardly recognize tomorrow’s stock market newcomers.

These companies have proven success and massive growth potential, so keep your eye on the web and the young entrepreneurs who are changing the face of modern business.

Square

Square has completely transformed the way that small businesses and individuals provide services. Now, anyone with an idea, a smart phone and a bank account can easily start doing business. Given that it was co-founded by Twitter creator Jack Dorsey, it’s no surprise that the company is already valued at over 3 billion dollars and has received considerable investments from high-profile investors like Richard Branson and Starbucks.Square Payment

Dorsey recently gave 10% of the company back to Square, in order to increase the number of shares available to employees, which have grown from 400 to 700 in the last year. If their recent, dramatic success and expansion are any indication of where they’re headed, Square will likely go the way of Dorsey’s other brainchild.

Dropbox

As physical documents become more and more obsolete, cloud-based data storage is becoming indispensable. Constant access to personal collections of music, photos and text documents is now a must for individuals and businesses alike, and Dropbox has become the leading provider of this access. This is made clear by the company’s 200 million users, and the fact that the site makes up an impressive 0.29% of internet bandwidth worldwide.

Though the value of the company may or may not actually be the rumored $8 billion, it’s clear that a growing number of individual and corporate paid subscriptions put the company in a good financial place – at least that’s what U2 rock legends Bono and The Edge think. The two musicians, along with several venture capital groups, have invested over $2.5 million in the last couple years. When Dropbox undoubtedly goes public, they may be fighting off investors with a stick.

Spotify

Ever since Napster invaded dorm rooms and gave users unlimited free music, the tech and music industries have been looking for a way to monetize music downloads. It looks like Spotify may have found the right format, and just might be the one that comes out on top in the long term. Though the company uses the popular “freemium” model, they have 4 million paid users. Napster founder Sean Parker has even given it his vote of confidence by sitting on the board and telling a Daily Beast panel that the company’s success is due to the fact that you become addicted to the service, at which point, they have you by the proverbial balls.Spotify

Investors agree, it seems. Last year, an investor group, which includes Goldman Sachs, put $100 million into the company. Since then, they’ve received more hefty investments and are now valued at $4 billion. When both tech and finance big shots are involved, it’s clear that it’s a company worth paying attention to.

Pinterest

Out of all of these picks, Pinterest might be the one that your granddad would understand the least. To the non-tech savvy, a virtual scrapbook may seem like a strange proposition for a money-making venture. The company, however, has taken some major steps towards becoming a highly valuable entity. In October, they launched the Promoted Pins trial, which puts relevant ads in front of users.

This move, along with assuming $338 million in investments earlier this year, make it obvious that Pinterest has realized its earning potential and is making moves to further monetize its free-for-users social network. With 70 million users, the site is a boon for retailers and businesses of all kinds. The company is now valued at $3.8 billion and continues to grow. Considering how much traffic it sends to retail sites, it seems only a matter of time until the company goes public.

Airbnb

Airbnb is one of a number of new companies that are putting valuable services in the hands of individuals. Like Uber and Lyft, which allow anyone to user their car as a taxi, Airbnb lets people rent out rooms or whole homes to travelers looking for a deal or a more unique accommodation.Air BnB

Since its 2008 inception, the site has booked over 10 million nights and has acquired several competitor websites around the world. With 12 locations internationally, Airbnb now offers not just apartments and rooms, but castles, boats, tree houses, igloos and private islands.

The company has already received over $150 million in investments and has taken on Ashton Kutcher as a brand advisor and investor. Now valued at $2.5 billion, Airbnb shows considerable promise as its number of bookings increases every day. When the private company becomes an IPO, those opening up their homes to strangers may not be the only ones who stand to make a buck from the hotel alternative.

While today’s hot IPOs-to-be might bring to mind the myriad dot coms that went belly-up when the last tech bubble burst, these new companies set themselves apart by providing services that a huge number of people now rely on in their daily lives. Unless unseen competitors rise up to eclipse these successful, young businesses, the future looks bright for them and for potential investors.

Guest Author Bio: Andrew May, owner and president of May Law, PC, is a Chicago

FINRA attorney specializing in financial services, commodities, futures, foreign

exchange, options and securities law. With over 18 years of experience, Andrew

has represented clients ranging from individuals and small business to Fortune

500 firms. For more information, visit May Law, PC or find him on Google+.

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