How Did Airbnb Get Started?

Back in 2007, designers Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbie could not afford the rent on their San Francisco Apartment. To help pay the rent, they turned their loft into a lodging space. They decided to build their own website to do so.

There was a design conference coming to the area and hotel space was limited, so they created a basic website with pictures of their lodge turned lodging space. They had three air mattresses on the floor and promised home cooked breakfast in the morning. They got their first three guests, at $80 per person, and they started getting emails from people worldwide asking for similar spaces in locations like Buenos Aires, London, and Japan.

Then they started considering what a larger, international version of their website could look like. The next spring, they brought some friends on board. In summer 2008, they needed to raise money. They bought cereal in bulk and designed special edition election themed boxes released in the fall, which they sold at convention parties for $40 per box. They raised about $30,000 from this hustle, which allowed them to start Airbed & Breakfast.

Initially, Airbnb did not gain much traction. Within the next few years, they integrated into Craigslist’s platform via a complex hack in order to take advantage of Craigslist’s massive user base by building a bot.

Since then, Airbnb has continued to grow and expand, turning into quite the successful business for them, their employees, and hosts!

Think Airbnb hosting could be right for you? Want to take advantage of this great, host friendly platform and user base? Sign up as an Airbnb host, what are you waiting for?

Image By Corey Coyle, CC BY 3.0,

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