Business Type :


Funding round :

Series A

Funding Price :

$31 billion

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, 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

BI Prime is publishing dozens of stories like this each and every day, chock full of exclusive content and industry analysis. Get started by reading the full pitch deck.