Airbnb is one of several highly anticipated IPOs reportedly slated for 2019. Founded in 2008 as “AirBed&Breakfast,” the startup has raised more than $4 billion to reach a $31 billion valuation as it closes in on a public filing.
But it wasn’t always the glowing digital startup success story it’s known as today. Co-founders Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia originally saw the company as a way for travelers to rent mattresses from locals — and it stumbled through much of its first year. They finally got their break after being accepted into Silicon Valley’s prestigious startup accelerator Y Combinator.
There the startup put together a pitch deck to secure the first round of capital that ignited its explosive growth. The premise was simple and straightforward: “Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels.”
As part of our coverage of the genesis of today’s successful companies, BI Prime took a look at how Airbnb’s original pitch deck, in which the founders started by laying out a clear problem for travelers and hosts alike:
- Price is an important concern for customers booking travel online.
- Hotels leave you disconnected from the city and its culture.
- No easy way exists to book a room with a local or become a host.
Although things like couch surfing did exist — there were 630,000 users on competitor site, Couchsurfing.com at the time — there was no easy, centralized platform that could be used around the world.
In the pitch deck, the team outlined the existing interest in the market and their solution: a “share culture,” where locals could make money renting space on their floors via air mattresses to strangers.
The rest of the deck outlines key considerations including:
- Market size
- Early mockups of the site
- Plans to drive adoption
- Main competitors
- Airbnb’s competitive advantages
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