Airbnb announced it will be working with former Apple design chief Jony Ive on future products.
The vacation rental platform called the deal a “multi-year relationship” with Ive and his new design firm LoveFrom. In addition to helping design “the next generation of Airbnb products and services,” Ive will work with the company’s internal design team.
Airbnb’s announcement was light on further details, but noted that Ive and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky have been “good friends” for many years.
Last year, Ive left Apple (AAPL) after nearly 30 years to start his own company. Apple (AAPL) continues to be a major client of his new firm. Ive is credited as one of the masterminds behind blockbuster products like the iMac, iPod and iPhone.
The move comes ahead of Airbnb’s expected initial public offering. In August, Airbnb filed confidential paperwork for an IPO, just months after the pandemic upended the travel industry and forced the startup to lay off a quarter of its employees.
The pandemic rattled its business and many of the hosts who power it. In May, Chesky wrote in a letter to employees that its business had been “hit hard” and revenue for the year was expected to be less than half of what the company earned in 2019. He also announced that Airbnb would let go nearly 1,900 employees around the world. Since then, Airbnb said it has seen bookings bounce back and longer-term bookings rise.
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Airbnb is seeking to raise about $3 billion in its upcoming IPO, which could happen in December.