Business

Here’s How AirBnb Founders Became Billionaires

A decade ago a pair of room­mates in San Francisco de­cided to make rent money by us­ing air mat­tresses to turn their place into a bed-and-break­fast when businessmen took up most of the hotel rooms in the city.

This then led to the cre­ation of Airbnb, a startup that is now val­ued at more than US$30bil (RM120­bil) which boasts mil­lions of places to stay in more than 191 coun­tries, from apart­ments and vil­las to cas­tles and tree­houses.

Here are some key facts about the revolutionary start-up that shook the ho­tel in­dus­try.

Hum­ble be­gin­nings

> In late 2007, with ho­tel rooms sell­ing out due to a de­sign con­fer­ence in San Francisco, Brian chesky and Joe Geb­bia de­cide to make some ex­tra money to help cover the rent in the apart­ment they share, by us­ing air mat­tresses to turn it into a bed-and-break­fast.

> A third for­mer room­mate of theirs, Nathan Blechar­czyk, teams with chesky and Geb­bia in a ven­ture they call “Air Bed and Break­fast”, launch­ing a web­site in Au­gust of 2008.

> Strug­gling to get the busi­ness off the ground, the startup founders stage a quirky stunt at the demo­cratic Na­tional con­ven­tion in late 2008, sell­ing boxes of ce­real cus­tom-branded Obama-O’s and cap’n Mc­cains for US$40 each (RM162) – rais­ing enough money to stay afloat, and earn­ing much-needed pub­lic­ity.

> The startup name is changed in March of 2009 to Airbnb as it en­vi­sions be­ing about more than sleep­ing on air mat­tresses.

> In April of 2009 Airbnb gets US$600,000 (RM2.4mil) in seed fund­ing from Se­quoia cap­i­tal af­ter a string of re­jec­tions from other ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists.

Dis­rupt­ing an in­dus­try

> In 2011, Airbnb boasts of be­ing in 89 coun­tries and of book­ing more than a mil­lion nights’ lodg­ings. The startup be­comes a Sil­i­con Val­ley “uni­corn” val­ued at US$1bil (RM4­bil) based on some US$112mil (RM450mil) pumped into it by ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists.

> In June of 2012, Airbnb an­nounces that more than 10 mil­lion nights of lodg­ing have been booked on its ser­vice, with some three-quar­ters of that busi­ness com­ing from out­side the US.

> In 2012, Airbnb is hit with the prob­lem of some guests leav­ing homes in dis­mal con­di­tion due to par­ties or other rau­cous ac­tiv­i­ties. The startup puts in place a mil­lion-dol­lar dam­age coverage pol­icy as a “Host Guar­an­tee”.

> In Septem­ber of 2016, Airbnb raises fund­ing in a round that val­ues the com­pany at US$30bil (RM121­bil).

> In Novem­ber of 2016, Airbnb launches Trips, tools that tourists can use to book lo­cal of­fer­ings or hap­pen­ings.

Growth and back­lash

> Airbnb be­gins fac­ing trou­ble as cities and land­lords crack down on “hosts” essen­tially turn­ing homes into hotels.

> In late 2016, Airbnb im­ple­ments poli­cies aimed at pre­vent­ing racial dis­crim­i­na­tion by hosts and cre­ates a per­ma­nent team aimed at fight­ing bias, fol­low­ing grow­ing com­plaints.

> In early 2017, Airbnb an­nounces plans to dou­ble its in­vest­ment in china, triple its work­force there and change its name to “Aibiy­ing” in chi­nese.

> Airbnb is re­ported to have made a profit of US$93mil (RM377mil) on US$2.6bil (RM10.5bil) in rev­enue in 2017.

> In 2018, bat­tling a global back­lash against “shar­ing econ­omy” star­tups dis­rupt­ing tra­di­tional in­dus­tries, Airbnb is forced to can­cel thou­sands of reser­va­tions in Ja­pan to com­ply with a new law reg­u­lat­ing short-term rentals.

Source: AFP
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