top of page

From Air Mattresses to a Global Phenomenon: The Inspirational Story of Airbnb

Airbnb is a home-sharing platform that allows travelers to stay in unique and affordable accommodations while connecting with locals in their destination. The company has revolutionized the travel industry, becoming one of the most innovative and successful startups of the 21st century.

But how did it all begin? In this article, we'll look at the history of Airbnb and highlight the most important events in a timeline.


  • 2007 - Founding of Airbnb: In San Francisco, California, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia came up with the idea of renting out air mattresses in their apartment to make some extra money during a design conference. They launched the website "AirBed and Breakfast", later changed to Airbnb, to help people rent out their homes to travelers.

  • 2008 - Seed funding and expansion: Airbnb received its first seed funding of $20,000 from Paul Graham's startup accelerator, Y Combinator. The company also expanded its services to include properties beyond air mattresses.

  • 2010/2011 - Growth and controversy: Airbnb continued to grow rapidly and received $7.2 million in Series A funding. However, the company also faced controversy when a host's home was vandalized by guests, Airbnb took responsibility for the incident and introduced a $50,000 insurance policy to protect hosts from similar situations. The company also implemented a screening process for users, which helped to build trust among hosts and guests.

  • 2014 - Rebranding and user experience: Airbnb underwent a major rebranding, including a new logo and website design. The company also introduced a new user experience, including verified photos and a messaging system.

  • 2014 - Expansion and regulation: Airbnb expanded into new markets and faced increasing regulatory challenges from cities and hotels concerned about competition and taxation.

  • 2016 - Community engagement: Airbnb launched a community engagement program, including partnerships with local organizations and a disaster response program. "Experiences" is a feature that allows hosts to offer tours and events in addition to places to stay.

  • 2020 – IPO: Airbnb went public, with its stock price surging on the first day of trading. The IPO was seen as a validation of the company's innovative approach to travel and hospitality.

Interesting facts about the company*:

  • 6.6 M active listings worldwide.

  • 100 K cities and towns with active Airbnb listings.

  • 220 + countries and regions with Airbnb listings.

  • 1.4 B Airbnb guest arrivals all-time.

  • +180 B earned by host all-time.

*As of December 21, 2022.


The story of Airbnb is one of entrepreneurship, innovation, and perseverance. From humble beginnings, the company has transformed the travel industry and connected millions of people around the world. Despite facing many challenges, including controversy and regulation, Airbnb has continued to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of its users. The key lesson from Airbnb's success is to never give up on your ideas and to always be willing to innovate and adapt to new challenges. With hard work and determination, anything is possible.

By: Andrés Felipe Salcedo Gutiérrez.


bottom of page