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Reference no. E470
Subject category: Entrepreneurship
Published by:
Stanford Business School (2013)
12 April 2013
13 pages
Data source:
Field research


The Airbnb case describes the very early days of this startup, beginning with the founders’ original concept of renting out air beds and serving breakfast ('Airbed and Breakfast') in their apartment to conference attendees as an alternative to expensive hotel rooms. The founders grew the business by providing finding lodging options in people’s homes for attendees of large events such as South by Southwest and the Democratic National Convention. Despite positive reviews and high spikes in activity associated with these events, the founders faced challenges achieving sustainable growth. In early 2009, they joined Y-Combinator and were forced to confront a series of decisions around how to improve the product such that it could grow into a profitable, long-term business.


Product/market fit; Start-up; Lodging; Hospitality; Growth challenges
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