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Background


Brian Chesky was born on August 29, 1981 in Niskayuna, New York. As a child, Chesky was interested in art, drawing replicas of paintings, and design, redesigning shoes and toys. He later got involved in landscape architecture and design.

Education
Brian attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where he met his friend and Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia, and graduated in 2005 with a BFA in Graphic Design and Industrial Design. Regarding his education, Brian has mentioned that "going to RISD had a profound impact on me. All my life I had been taught to look straight ahead and do the normal path. Anything different would lead me to the principal's office. However at RISD they told you because you were a designer, you could change things, that I could go out and do and change anything I wanted to do".
Entrepreneurship
Brian decided to start a startup after being challenged by his friend Joe Gebbia. They had no idea what they wanted to do even though they knew we wanted to do something. Brian has said that "when I told my roommates I was leaving they thought I was crazy and needed an intervention".
On the topic of entrepreneurship has said that "while growing up, I never thought about being an entrepreneur, in fact I had never heard about anyone being an entrepreneur before. The closest thing to an entrepreneur I knew of was Bob of Bob’s Pizza in the town I grew up in. My parents were both social workers and when I told them I was going to art school they were sure I was going to move back home. My parents always told me if I got a job I should make sure I got one with health insurance. That was the extent of my perceived ambitions."

AirBed & Breakfast


Following the invitation from Joe, Brian moved to San Francisco in September 2007 with about $1000 in his back account. Upon arriving, he learned that his portion of the rent was $1,200 so he literally didn’t have enough to pay rent.

To make ends meet, they decided to rent out space in their apartment. The initial problem with their idea was they didn’t have any beds. Upon realizing this, they bought 3 inflatable air beds and came up with the name “Air bed and breakfast” for their venture and the airbedandbreakfast.com URL for their website.

MVP (September 2007)


The first thought Joe and Brian had was to rent their airbeds to conference attendees in San Francisco. To this end, they quickly put a website together on Wordpress that not only allowed them to list their airbeds but also allowed other hosts to list their airbeds as well.
"You spent all your money on the conference, now save some cash on accommodations" was the call to action heading their new website.
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Customer Problem


Two customer problems were being addressed with the MVP. The first was that attendees to conferences in San Francisco needed affordable accommodation, given how expensive conferences and hotels in San Francisco were. The second problem was that hosts that wanted to rent their airbeds to conference attendees didn't have a specific website to do so.

Customer Segmentation


The target customers were (1) conference attendees on a budget and (2) San Francisco hosts with airbeds to rent.

Value Proposition


The value propositions were (1) providing conference attendees with accommodation for the entire duration of a conference and (2) connecting hosts with guests that wanted to rent their airbeds.

Growth Proposition


Allowing attendees of large conferences to rent airbeds in the apartments of total strangers when they could not or did not want to stay in hotels.

MVP (September 2007)


Following the decision to offer a bed and breakfast to conference attendees, Brian and Joe quickly put together a website together.
In order for conference attendees to book their accommodation and for other apartment owners to list their air beds, Brian and Joe put together a more advanced MVP.

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Brian and Joe ended up hosting 3 people in their home during the conference and at the time they thought that "it was a cool and funny way to make some money".

Each guest paid $80 to stay on the air mattress. One guest, Amol, was another designer who actually helped Joe and Brian on their presentations. "Being one of the first Airbnb guests feels like being on The Tonight Show, but I didn't know I was on The Tonight Show," Amol said in 2012.

Customer Problem


Two customer problems were being addressed with this following MVP. The first problem was that all available accommodation for the IDSA conference in San Francisco had been fully booked and many attendees still didn't have a place to stay. The second problem was that hosts that wanted to rent their airbeds to IDSA conference attendees didn't have a place to list them.

Customer Segmentation


There were also two target customers. The first was the attendees of the design conference who hadn't found a space and were looking for accommodation. The second was the hosts that had airbeds to rent to conference attendees.

Value Proposition


Providing conference attendees with accommodation for the entire duration of the conference.

Growth Proposition


Allowing attendees of large conferences to rent air mattresses and places to stay in the apartments of total strangers when they cannot or don't want to stay in hotels.

MVP (August 2008)



After hosting their first 3 guests, Joe and Brian started looking to implement this service for other conferences with large attendees. They decided to it with the Democratic National Convention, which was slated to have 80,000+ attendees.


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Customer Problem

All available accommodation for the Industrial Designers Society of America conference in San Francisco had been booked leading up to the conference

Customer Segmentation

The target customers were attendees of the conference who hadn't found a space and were looking for a unique accommodation experience that offered breakfast, networking, and tours of the city. This time the customers were also people who were looking to make some money and meet new people by renting out space in their house.

Leap to Faith
Inviting and encouraging other people to open up their homes to strangers had not been done before.

Value Proposition

Cheap and personal accommodation that offered guest interaction.

Customer Discovery

Brian and Joe heard from colleagues and on the news that all hotels were sold out leading up to the conference and that were many people still without a place to stay.

Airbnb