Introducing Airbnb

Some weeks ago, about june 15th, I’ve been introduced to a new way of home renting, this is Airbnb.

Airbnb is a privately held company headquartered in SF founded in August 2008 which provides a platform for individuals referred to as “hosts”, generally private parties, to rent unoccupied living space and other short-term lodging to guests.

Users of the site must register and create a personal online profile before using the site. Every property is associated with a host whose profile includes recommendations by other users, reviews by previous guests, as well as a response rating and private messaging system.

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How the founders came up with the idea? 

Shortly after moving to SF in October 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia created the initial concept for AirBed & Breakfast during the Industrial Design Conference. The original site offered short-term living quarters, breakfast and a unique business networking opportunity for attendees who were unable to book a hotel in the saturated market.

At the time, roommates Chesky and Gebbia could not afford the rent for their loft in SF so they made their living room into a bed and breakfast, accommodating three guests on air mattresses and providing homemade breakfast.

In February 2008, Harvard graduate and technical architect, Nathan Bleckarczyk joined as the third co-founder of AirBed & Breakfast. During the company’s initial stages, the founders focused on high-profile events where alternative lodging was scarce.

To help fund the site, the founders created special edition breakfast cereals, with candidates Brack Obama and John McCain as the inspiration for “Obama O’s” and “Cap’n McCains”. In two months, 800 boxes of cereal were sold at $40 each which generated more than $30K for the company’s incubation and attracted Y Combinator’s Paul Graham.

After its graduation, the site expanded to include properties in the market between hotels and CouchSurfing. In January of 2009, Y Combinator invited Gebbia and Blecharcxyk to join the incubator’s winter session for three months of training. With the website already built, they used the $20K Y-Combinator investment to fly to NY to meet users and promote the site. They returned to SF with a profitable business model to present to West Coast investors.

“And this is how business is made  kids”

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So how the hell Airbnb works? Well it’s quite easy, first of all you have to create an account as we said before or you can log in using your Facebook account. Then you will have to list your space by picking a home type, room type, accommodations and city. From this point forward everything you must do is upload some pictures of your space (max. 25) and type about it, as for example location, amenities, etc. You can also call for a professional photographer, totally free. It’s awesome.

As I said at the beginning I’ve been introduced to the platform some weeks ago and I’m really amused about how well it’s working having almost the whole month of July booked as well as August. It’s really useful for those who are having an empty space and want to earn some money from it. I’ll definitely use it to survive in Belgium. What about you?

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