Airbnb's humble beginnings

Bambi Francisco Roizen · July 14, 2011 · Short URL:

From CEO Brian Chesky's apartment to 25,000-square-foot office space in San Francisco

Airbnb had, like most startups, humble beginnings before moving into a 25,000-square-foot office space in San Francisco.

Before Airbnb became the latest startup darling to get a lot of attention (because of a reported fundraising round that values the three-year-old at at $1 billion), VatorNews was fortunate enough to film the early days of Airbnb, in Brian Chesky's (CEO and co-founder) apartment.

It's a far different world than the one depicted in a recent Wall Street Journal report, featuring Airbnb as an example of a startup giving excessive perks to its employees. Airbnb perks include Yoga Tuesdays and Thursday recess. In the article, co-founder Joe Gebbia talks about the founders desire to create a fun place to work.

Funny thing is that if you look at their early days in this video - Travel the world with Airbnb - the founders, Brian and Joe, and another co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, appear to be having fun, regardless of the crowded space. Here's the team and their story in their early days in 2009, in Brian's apartment.

We all have to start some place!

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Joined Vator on is the “Ebay of space.” The online marketplace allows anyone from private residents to commercial properties to rent out their extra space. The reputation-based site allows for user reviews, verification, and online transactions, for which Airbnb takes a commission. As of June, 2009, the San Francisco-based company has listings in over 1062 cities in 76 countries.


Brian Chesky

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