- Airbnb announced plans to open a technical hub in the City of Atlanta, in an effort to strengthen its regional footprint and provide a base for "hundreds of technical and non-technical roles over time."
- The company selected Atlanta after perusing the East Coast for a city that illustrated five key factors: leaders committed to economic empowerment; a commitment to diversity and inclusion; a diverse technical talent pool; a creative culture and a low residential turnover rate. Airbnb also lauded the state of Georgia for its "natural amenities" and workforce.
- Airbnb joins a growing list of companies landing in "the Business Center of the Southeast," where 1.9 million jobs are expected to be created by 2040, according to the city's economic development authority Invest Atlanta. Such companies to relocate to Atlanta include Honeywell, GE Digital and BlackRock.
As a San Francisco-based company, Airbnb knows firsthand the impacts of the Silicon Valley exodus that traditional coastal tech hubs are experiencing amid the coronavirus pandemic. And while there's buzz surrounding up-and-coming cities like Miami and Austin, TX, Atlanta is also gaining significant attention from the tech community.
Airbnb says it planned to move forward with an Atlanta Technical Hub at the end of 2019, yet the pandemic slowed those plans — and led to the layoffs of 25% of Airbnb's workforce. "As travel has rebounded, we realized that we have an opportunity to establish this technical hub more quickly than we anticipated, and restarted conversations in Atlanta," Airbnb wrote in a blog post.
- Atlanta is already home to some of the world's largest companies including Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines and UPS. Yet it's seeing a particular uptick in its startup activity, having produced at least three unicorns since September, according to Crunchbase News.
To further support this activity, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms recently unveiled the One Atlanta economic recovery plan, developed with Invest Atlanta, to serve as a blueprint for businesses and employees getting back on their feet post-pandemic. The plan has a particular focus on Black and Brown communities in Atlanta, which was likely prompted by a slew of critics who said the mayor was not doing enough to ensure economic opportunities for communities of color.
Bottoms recognized this criticism in a December interview with Smart Cities Dive: "This past year has shone a light on racial injustice, inequitable access to healthcare, the vulnerabilities of our low- and middle- income workers, and the growing divisions and mistrust within our communities ... We are indeed proud, but we are also focused."
Airbnb said the Atlanta Technical Hub will collaborate with Bottoms and her Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to ensure the city's youth has equitable access to education and training opportunities, and it will partner with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to strengthen talent pipelines.
Airbnb also committed to donating any economic incentives or credits that the city may offer to community impact initiatives.