AirBnb is a story of success that was never envisioned by the founders. The founders were having rent challenges and had in their pool of thoughts, an air mattress renting business. There was a popular design conference in 2007 that was coming to their town in San Francisco. They identified that there were attendees that would need accommodation through the duration of the conference. The founders were Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. Brian and Joe, advertised their air mattress renting business and received three guests. The number of clients was way below what they had anticipated. Fortunately, they gladly made $1,000 and were able to pay rent for their apartment. Unbeknown to them this would be a stepping stone for AirBnB.
Search for Direction
After paying their rent, Brian and Joe continued thinking through ideas that would afford them a decent income because they were unemployed. Of the many ideas they came up with, the air mattress renting business would resurface. Even though it was never meant to be a long term business for them, they gave it another shot to see if they could earn an income on it. This prompted them to onboard their friend Nathan Blecharczyk who was a programmer. The three packaged and designed their business to serve people attending conferences. They would make an inconsistent and unsustainable income and were often back to the drawing board. Their air mattress renting business needed funds and an effective marketing plan for visibility.
The Back and Forth
With the minimal capital they had from their business, they kept launching over and again. The launches were meant to grab the attention of the media. It worked. Newspapers would pick up their story to the extent that their website crashed because of abnormally huge traffic. Bookings started growing, which proved to them that their business had potential. It was clear to them that their obstacle was funding to grow their company. They had figured out marketing concepts that were getting them traffic.
However, bookings would end when conferences ended. The three cofounders had to be steadfast in securing funds for their business. They would meet angel investors who turned them down. Renting a hosts house to a strange was not making sense to investors at the time. The cofounders had to max their credit cards to get by and would hit a dead end leaving them in debt with a stalled business.
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