The story of AirBNB is quiet well known in the startup scene. In a way it is an excellent example of an idea or a vision that is working in practice which is not always the case. For example Youtube started as a dating site and pivoted to video sharing side. Anyway from outside AirBNB seems to be extremely successful. But it took the founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia quiet some years to get this success.

As you can see, in the infograph below, it was quiet a hard way.

If you want to start your own startup it is good to make an overview of the last years, you have the idea in your mind (and hopefully the first execution). By making the overview you have an indicator in which phase you are (but keep in mind that every startup has it’s own history but there (almost) no startups that had immediately success.

The infograph made by Funders & Founders made an infograph of the story of AirBNB. I wrote it in words and add the graph itself below in this post:


  • Two guys in San Fransisco can’t pay the rent
  • They think to rent out 3 air mattresses on the floor and serve breakfast
  • They make a simple website (blog with maps)
  • 2 men and 1 women showed up, paying $80 each
  • After guests left they thought this would be a big idea
  • They invited former roommate as co-founder to build this site
  • Launched at SXSW got two bookings


  • Sold “Obama’s O’s” before the election for $40 each making first money $30 000


  • Got $20 000 in first funding from Paul Graham’s Y-combinator
  • Were making $200 per week for months, not growing
  • Realized photo’s and places were not pretty
  • Went door-to-door in NYC and took photo’s of listed houses
  • >> One week later: made $400 a week started to grow
  • Were rejected by a famous VC in New York (Fred Wilson)
  • Barry Manilow’s (a famoes singer) drummer rents an entire house (aha!)
  • Raised $600 000 seed round from Sequoia


  • Raised $7,2 million then $112 million from many investors and Ashton Kutcher (WTF)


  • $10 Billion Valuation

The infograph made by Funders & Founders

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