Startup Sessions


Travel the world with Airbnb

San Francisco-based Airbnb is making cash by helping people rent out their extra space to travelers

Innovation series by Chris Caceres
July 29, 2009 | Comments (3)
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When Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, and Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founders of Airbnb decided to quit their jobs to become entrepreneurs, their funds quickly diminished.  So they decided to start renting out the extra space in their apartment to travelers on a budget.   Soon they realized this was their entrepreneurial calling - build a Website where people could turn their homes into a hotel business.

Airbnb, a Y Combinator-funded company, now refers to itself as the eBay of space. 

From couches to tropical water villas, Airbnb now spans over  80 countries and has 25,000 users worldwide.  Airbnb makes a 10% commission everytime somebody rents out their space.  They are now profitable, keeping the company lean, and not looking for any big funding.

In this segment of Startup Sessions check out how the site works and how Airbnb embraces the startup culture.

If you're a startup and interested in being featured on our new show, please contact

Related companies, investors and entrepreneurs

Description: is the “Ebay of space.” The online marketplace allows anyone from private residents to commercial properties to re...
Brian Chesky
Co-founder, CEO,


James DeMarco, on July 29, 2009

Awesome business model and concept!
1. Might be useful to include a "navigation guide" or way a traveler can map out a route while setting a budget and specific locations (just like backpacking). That way you can bundle all your rentals together... maybe charge a premium fee for that service (monetize), like a AAA for backpackers?
2. Any plans to Mobilize!? Maybe get an iPhone application out there to find a place on the fly?

Keep it up guys, I'm looking forward to signing up and using your service.

Sergio Henry, on July 29, 2009

i agree w/ james' comment, a "mapping" feature for folks to plan a route (and see distances, contacts, potential rentals/"bookings", etc.) would be a nice addition. Even w/out it, it still rocks. the good vibes you run your company on shows. you've got a fan in me for sure.

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