- Tram Ho
If you’re young and want to make money, start an online business. This concept still deserves recognition after decades. In the list of the 400 richest Americans in 2019 published by Forbes, there are 13 characters under the age of 40. 4 of them are inheritors of property. The remaining 9 have set up companies that operate digital activities like connecting people far away or buying and selling used items on the internet.
The trio of tech tycoons – the co-founders of Airbnb – made their fifth appearance on The Forbes 400 list. These familiar names are Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. This year, their home-sharing service has sold tens of billions of dollars of stock to private investors. Airbnb is expected to issue its initial public offering (IPO) in 2020.
From left to right: Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky.
Here’s the co-founder of Airbnb’s empire – one of the most inspiring stories of the 21st century:
In the same situation as many graduates, despite having received a double degree in graphic design and industrial design from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, Gebbia still struggled to get a job. 2 years later, he and Nathan Blecharczyk (36 years old) and Brian Chesky (38 years old) founded Airbnb – where he is currently Product Manager.
How did Airbnb get started?
In late 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia moved to San Francisco from New York. Unemployed, they have difficulty paying rent and have to find a way to make more money. At the time, they discovered that all the hotel rooms in the city had been booked in advance because the local Industrial Design conference had attracted many visitors to San Francisco.
Young entrepreneurs have seen business opportunities from here. They bought several air mattresses and quickly designed a website called “Airbed and Breakfast” (AirBed and Breakfast). Their idea is to give travelers a place to sleep and eat breakfast with cereal. They charge 80 USD / night. The idea was successful and Airbnb’s first guests were a 30-year-old Indian man, a 35-year-old woman from Boston and a 45-year-old dad from Utah.
Not long after, Nathan Blecharczyk – Harvard graduate and information technology architect joined the group as the 3rd co-founder. One of their big challenges was that the website was only 2. users and one of them is Chesky. Initially, after debuting, they only received 2 bookings. Despite all the difficulties such as having no help investors and thousands of dollars in credit card debt, the founders had to sell cereal to keep the company running.
These “follow” cereal boxes helped them maintain Airbnb.
After revamping the site, the company debuted again in August 2008, just before the Democratic National Convention in Denver. More than 20,000 people attended the conference and all hotels were fully booked. The desire of the three founders is to serve thousands of people and have more than 600 people attending the conference using Airbnb’s services.
The first investment
To finance its startup, the trio started selling cereal themed ceremonies related to the election. They managed to make $ 30,000 from selling “cereal” cereals such as Obama O’s and Cap’n McCains.
Airbnb raised its first capital of US $ 20,000 from Y Combinator. At that time, they only earned 200 USD / week from Airbnb and decided to use the money to go to New York – the largest market in the US and meet users. They discovered that the images of most properties were not good, so they bought a camera and went to each house one after another to take better photos.
An accommodation of Airbnb.
In January 2009, Y Combinator invited 3 founders to participate in his startup training for 3 months. At the same time, Paul Graham at Y Combinator tried to persuade investor Fred Wilson to invest in Airbnb, but Wilson disagreed, and he probably missed an investment of great value.
After meeting the trio, he asked them to leave him a cereal box and now the box serves as a reminder to Wilson not to make the same mistake as skipping Airbnb again. He himself mentioned this in a blog post two years later.
Success through perseverance and determination
After surveying the New York market, the company received many business offers. The focus has been shifted from serving private needs to sharing shared spaces to serving the need to search for all types of accommodation. In March 2009, Airbnb had 2,500 properties and nearly 10,000 users.
Airbnb’s business is growing. The most recent statistics show that the company currently has more than 2 million properties in more than 190 countries and 34,000 cities around the world. Estimated, the host has welcomed more than 40 million visitors. With a valuation of $ 22.5 billion, Airbnb has become one of the prominent unicorn startups of the housing sharing market. Along with the success of the company, the co-founders all became billionaires. All 3 people own a fortune of about 4.2 billion, all in The Forbes 400 and are the youngest billionaires under 40 in the United States.
Source : Trí Thức Trẻ