Airbnb, Inc. is a global, web-based marketplace for short-term rentals and house-sharing arrangements. The company was founded in 2008 as AirBedandBreakfast.com after roommates Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia came up with the idea they could turn their apartment into a bed and breakfast if they had a website. The two brought on Nathan Blecharczyk as Chief Technology Officer, and by August of that same year, the company was up and running.
At first, the platform was solely for the trio's own use and they had their first customers soon after launching. The next year the trio was offered the chance to join the Y Combinator business incubator for the cost of a 6% ownership in the company. That deal got them $20,000 in capital they used to go to New York to promote and garner new investors. They came back to California with a plan to expand the business including the shift toward brokering deals rather than providing a room. At the end of 2009, the company had served more than 10,000 users and had more than 2,500 listings.
The next few years saw the company expand rapidly with the help of investors like Sequoia Capital and Google (now Alphabet). The company also retooled its website and appearance and launched a new logo. The logo is called Bélo and is meant to represent inclusiveness and belonging. During this time, the company also began its international expansion, opening offices first in London and then later in Singapore.
Airbnb owes much of its growth to acquisitions. The company has made more than a dozen major acquisitions over its short lifespan. Acquisitions include both expansions of territory as well as the depth of offerings and include CrashPadder in 2012 and HotelTonight in 2021. The company went public in 2020 to much fanfare, raising more than $3.5 billion in its first day of trading. That gave the company a valuation greater than $100 billion making it one of the largest IPOs in the travel industry ever recorded.
Today, Airbnb operates through a network of subsidiaries as a technology-based travel and leisure company. It operates a web-based platform that enables property owners to offer rental time to consumers globally. The platform works across devices and enables users to book complete travel packages or individual travel services. The company’s revenue was just short of $6 billion in 2021 due to the incredible boost from COVID-19 and social distancing. The event was a game-changer for this rapidly growing company and helped to cement it as the leader in its industry.
As of the end of the year 2021, the company had more than 4 million listings with more than double that number of beds. This puts it first worldwide and larger than the top 4 hotel brands combined. Revenue in 2022 topped $8.25 billion, a growth of 37.5% in only 2 years, and the company was only reaching a small fraction of its $3.4 trillion addressable market.