airbnb case

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9 -8 1 2 -0 4 6 REV: OCTOBER 12, 2012 JOSEPH B. LASSITER III EVAN RICHARDSON Airbnb Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, the three founders of Airbnb, an online private accommodation rental market, stared at each other across the kitchen table in their San Francisco apartment. It was March of 2009. A single sheet of paper sat on the table in front of them. The three founders were on the verge of finishing the three month program at Y Combinator (YC), a business accelerator located in Mountain View, CA. Founders spent 12 weeks at YC building what were typically web-enabled technology businesses, working with YC’s mentors, meeting investors, and laying the groundwork for becoming fast growing, independent…show more content…
Sequoia expected an answer before Airbnb took the stage. Founders’ History: Before There Were Air Mattresses Chesky and Gebbia had history. As undergrads, they’d both studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD—pronounced “RIZ-dee” by its community) and had become close friends. “Between the two of us, we ran the two biggest clubs on campus,” recalled Chesky. “I was the head of the hockey club, the RISD Nads, and Joe [Gebbia] started the basketball club, the RISD Balls. We wanted them to be the biggest things on campus, and they were.” Chesky and Gebbia had total control over the clubs and built them into significant organizations, raising money through a variety of events and expanding the clubs’ profile beyond their respective sporting arenas. Both took a lot from the experience, recalled Chesky: Running the Nads was some of the most important business education I’ve ever gotten. If I had to choose between getting an MBA and running something, even a college club, I’d pick running something every day. Chesky graduated the year before Gebbia, and at the graduation ceremony, said Gebbia, “I had a vision. I told Brian [Chesky], ‘someday, we’re going to start a business together’. I just knew that it was going to happen.” Chesky left RISD and took a job with a product design firm in Los Angeles. Over the course of the next two years, he designed dozens of products for industries ranging from medicine to the US military. “I started

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