• Team Business-360°

The rise and rise of Airbnb


Legend has it that Airbnb was an idea born out of desperation. In 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were two unemployed friends who had rented an apartment in one of the world's most expensive cities, San Francisco, and were struggling to make rent. To hang on to their home they came up with the idea of letting out the free space in their apartment for a small fee. When they wrote out this business model on a napkin at lunch their only intention was not to lose their home, never dreaming that it would one day become a multi-million dollar empire.


Knowing that trust would be the major barrier to people agreeing to stay in a strangers home. They tackled this by creating a simple website with pictures of the space they planned to rent. This became an immense success and soon they were flooded with emails from around the world. Although they created the original website, Joe and Brian were in no way tech wizards, so they reached out to a former roommate Nathan Blecharczyk who helped scale the technology for their business. By 2014 Airbnb had serviced 10 million guests, had 550,000 listings worldwide and was valued at $10 billion.

Airbnb started off small but ended up disrupting the hospitality industry. This was possible because the founders built it on some solid business principles :

  1. They validated their idea before going full steam ahead. At every stage they tested their idea for feasibility and only launched it when it ticked all their boxes.

  2. They understood the co-relation between supply and demand and made sure each kept pace with the other.

  3. They built a balanced team. Joe and Brian were designers but when they needed to grow they hired Nathan who came with skills complementary to theirs.

  4. Their priority was always to put the customer first and they modeled their business on trust.

  5. And finally their focus was always on value instead of just revenue generation. They put in all their effort in ensuring that the customers got value for their money and pulled out all stops to ensure this.

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