Brian Chesky’s story is the kind that start-up kids murmur to themselves at night in their parents’ basement, praying for a big break. Fresh out of college, Chesky and his roommate Joe Gebbia – both struggling industrial designers – couldn’t afford their rent one month in 2007. Because a big conference was taking place in San Francisco at the time, all hotel rooms were booked solid.
Spotting a cheeky chance to make some cash, Chesky and Gebbia bought three air mattresses and advertised their apartment as up for rent. “Airbed and breakfast” was born, complete with breakfast consisting of untoasted Pop Tarts. Ten years later, Airbnb is worth around $30-billion, making it the most valuable hospitality company in the world. The likes of Hilton Hotels, InterContinental and Marriott trail behind. read more