You wouldn't guess it from the ubiquitous subway ads or astroturfing campaigns, but Airbnb's legislative efforts are a little behind the times. For example, the company spent "tens of millions" on a New York "advertising blitz" after a judge first ruled on a subpoena from the state attorney general.
According to the New York Daily News, however, Airbnb is finally catching up with Uber, which already has a taxi deputy and perhaps soon former White House fixture, on its payroll. The paper says that Airbnb hired Bill Hyers, the former campaign manager for Bill de Blasio, credited with his "come-from-behind" win for mayor.
The sharing economy sweetheart has also been allocating more of its $776 million in venture capital funding to public affairs, despite declaring New York a "model city" for its regulatory woes back in January 2013:
Airbnb also appears to be sparing no expense with consultants. The company has an in-house spokesman and has retained communications strategist Risa Heller. It also hired Obama's former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor. Vietor's firm, Fenway Strategies, has not done any work for Airbnb in the NYC market.
"Bill has been a part of the Airbnb team for several months and we're all working to ensure New Yorkers learn about Airbnb and how we make all five boroughs better places to live, work and visit," Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas said in an email.