Air Bnb – the founder’s story – how the biggest real estate company owns no real estate
From air mattresses on the floors of a San Francisco loft to listing multimillion dollar party homes in the most exotic locations of the entire globe, AirBnb has come a long way. Form Obama O’s to the billions it is worth now, it is the story of the biggest real estate Company on the planet that actually owns no real estate property at all. Sounds strange doesn’t it? But it is actually true.
AirBnb was started by two design school alums namely Joe Gebby and Brian Chesky. It is often said that necessity is the mother of all inventions. The necessity for them was to pay for the rent of their loft in San Francisco. They decided to rent out air mattresses and promised morning breakfast to anyone who wanted it. What made them stand out was the fact that they capitalized on an event that would mean scarcity of rooms. They also differentiated their idea from an existing website by making their own webpage called airbedandbreakfast.com.
With a startup idea that people have come to love over the years, AirBnb wasn’t so lucky when it initially sought out funding. One of the famous stories goes back to a New York City based VC firm that denied them funding, calling their idea a bit absurd. They later admitted that denying them funding was a bad idea. Earlier, the growth stagnated which is bound to happen at one time. It is at this point where it is decided if the company will grow or just stagnate and die. Airbnb redefined their website, changed their names and made the interface more aesthetically pleasing.
AirBnb has changes commercial housing and hotel business forever. They have even surpassed major hotel chains in the transactional business that they do every year. Now, a homeowner has an option for a supplementary income and to afford their mortgages. People often buy houses to convert them into rental properties as an investment. Reals estate sector has witnessed a revolution from all angles. It has redefined the way people think about buying a house and given whole new heat to the “buying vs renting” debate.
The funding story of AirBnb is also wonderfully weird. They sold cereals branded as the front runners of the US presidential elections. They sold out their Obama brand and survived on the McCains for weeks. Y combinator infused the first actual cash in the company amounting to $20,000. From there to the latest seed funding round that raised $500 million and a 10 billion dollar evaluation, AirBnb has emerged as a Titan of the Industry.
What AirBnb represents is the general trend by which the society has started consuming a product. Aggregators like Uber, Facebook, and Alibaba have no original product just like AirBnb but yet, they are the behemoths of their sector. The idea of AirBnb was so simple yet trivial, it solved a problem and gave the user a new way of finding accommodation. The Pioneers of the aggregator revolution know one solid fact that it’s all about the user experience which is just a modified way of saying, “the Customer is the King”.