How Airbed & Breakfast became Airbnb ?

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“Creativity is the solution to all problems”- Brian Chesky , co Founder and CEO at Airbnb

For those who don’t know, Airbnb is an online marketplace where people can lease or rent short term lodging. The $31 billion company does not own any lodging but is merely a broker.

So how did two unemployed friends(3 founder joining a little later) became the founders of a billion dollar company.

 

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Nathan Blecharczyk , Joe Gebbia , Brian Chesky (from left to right)

 

The story starts at Rhode Island School of Design where Brian Chesky met Joe Gebbia. On the day of graduation Joe says to him ‘Brian, one day we are going to be entrepreneurs’. A few years passed and one day in 2007 both of them quit their jobs and decide to start a company together. With absolutely no business idea and a $1000 in bank account and a sleeping bag Brian drove to San Francisco. Turned out the rent for Joe’s apartment was $1150. Strangled with debt they thought of an idea to provide accommodation in their apartment to people coming for a IDSA( Industrial Designers Society Of America )conference in town at the rates that were far less than an hotel. In 24 hours they built a website called Airbedandbreakfast.com and mailed the top design bloggers and in overnight Airbed and breakfast was at the top of the blogger’s page.

An idea that came 48 hours ago to save them from cash crunch was now live on the internet. To their surprise people from all over the world were writing to them. Finally 3 people who came to attend the conference , one of whom was an Indian slept on the airbeds in their living room and became their first guest.

It was then that it struck Brian what if you could book someone’s home the way you book a hotel anywhere in the world.

In 2008 they incorporated the company as Airbed and breakfast. They even called upon their “former roommate ” and “brilliant engineer” Nathan Blecharczyk, to join as the third co-founder of the new venture.  To fund the site they created special edition breakfast cereals with presidential candidates Obama and John McCain as the box designs. At $40 a box they generated $30,000 for company’s incubation. All of this created a buzz and in 2009 Y Combinator invested a whooping $20000 in the company as an initial investment ( they had joined Y Combinator’s 2009 Winter Class) . They were further funded by SEQUOIA CAPITAL . The name was now changed to Airbnb and it offered not only rooms and apartments but also castles, manors, boats, tree houses, private island and even an IGLOO, yes you heard it right.

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Today Airbnb is the No.1 lodging website in UK. Many people who were on the brink of losing their homes through foreclosure due to financial hardship, have come to depend on Airbnb for additional income. It can be said that it has been a blessing in disguise to various people out there , just as it was one for the founders who got to live their “one day” dream by solving an intricate  problem .

but you need to know that the story was not as rosy as it seems and many a days they had to live on cereals only


This is a GUEST BLOG written by my best friend Umang Mittal who like me is a huge startup enthusiast . And edited by me! I hope you enjoyed reading it and came to know the story that you might have wondered about  !

Waiting for your views and comments!

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THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONARES BY BEN MEZRICH BOOK REVIEW 

“Information is meant to be shared. Pictures are meant to be looked at “

We all have heard the name of the movie THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and as far as I remember I loved it and till date have watched it a gazillion times (partial blame on Andrew Garfield).So this is the book on which the movie was based and it’s better with a garrulous description of the Silicon Valley and none other than the Harvard University.

What amazed me was Mark Zuckerberg’s brilliance and idea which surpassed all the ideas for social networking in the early 2000’s. How he eliminated all the faults present in Orkut, Friendster and gave us all something amazing to connect with our friends (because after all they are the most important).

Mr. Ben Mezrich has written the book brilliantly. He has kept the characters out there and left it on us who to judge and who to not. Capturing Mark Zuckerberg’s and Eduardo Saverins friendship , its ups and down, how friendship and business muddled together is though easy on the look but tough to maintain , entrance of Sean Parker( the guy who started the hacking battle for free music streaming) , the amazing Peter Thiel ( and Facebooks early investor) and last but not the least the Winklevoss twins.

So it’s a must read for those who want a glimpse of this billion dollar company, its founding, its bumpy ride, battle between cofounders, every investor wanting a part of this new found baby and last but not the least Mark Zuckerberg who did everything to keep Facebook for what it stands .

SNAPCHAT: REAL TRUTH BEHIND THE NEWS THAT GOT INDIANS TOGETHER

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We all know that person who was once a friend of ours (that too for a short period of time) who when left us spilled our secrets too along the way. The same is the case with Snapchat and its ex-employee Anthony Pompliano who worked with them only for a short time span of 3 weeks. Prior to this stunt he had worked with Facebook. And after snapchat had worked with Brighten Labs Inc. from which he was fired to due to poor performance! Against which also he had filed a case of fraud.

Maybe Evan Spiegel said it maybe not, but there is no constructive evidence to prove it. And the funny part is that the person behind these allegation is someone not worthy to be trusted of his statement.

So all those who are backlashing snapchat should step back a min and Google the actual facts.

These were allegations made when snapchat was a private company. Now it’s a public company listed on the NYSE. That’s why they guarded the allegation back then in 2015 but now they have nothing to hide.

P.S.: personal view point!

THE BANSALS OF THE INDIAN STARTUP STORY!

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So just a few days back in the newspaper I saw an article talking about IIT educated Jyoti Bansal selling his startup (AppDynamics) to Cisco for $3.7billion. And then I realized that there needs to be a blog for the Bansal’s of the startup world. Bansal is a gotra under Aggarwal’s. So business did run in their DNA. And along with their mighty brains which were further molded in the IIT’s & IIM’s they succeeded in living their dreams. Because they always knew that they were meant for something different.

to the uninterrupted souls!

Sachin Bansal OF FLIPKART

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He is presently the Executive Chairman of Flipkart. Was a nerdy student all his life. Is an IIT-Delhi graduate. He worked at Amazon where he and his Co-founder had the daredevil idea of starting the Indian Amazon in 2007. Though in the beginning they were thinking about starting a comparison shopping engine, but realized that wasn’t what India required. Persistence helped them to build up.

 “You should always know what you don’t know”

Binny Bansal of FLIPKART

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He is presently the CEO – Flipkart Group (a change made in the current year). He is too an IIT Delhi alumnus. And worked before with Amazon. The day to day software worked bored him and something new had to be done. And well than rest is history.

Mukesh Bansal of MYNTRA

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He is currently working on a new start up idea that’s “Cure-Fit”. He’s an alumnus of IIT-Kanpur. Before Myntra he worked with 4-different startups in the bay area where he learned the do’s, don’ts and the never ending tectonic waves of the startup culture. Myntra was founded in 2007 as a niche website for customized candles, t-shirts, mugs etc. Due to internet boom in 2010 it shifted towards its fashion platform. He was bitten by the start-up bug when he was in the 3year of his college.

“Get your team right at every stage of development if you want to scale up”

   Rohit Bansal of SNAPDEAL

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He’s again an IIT-Delhi alumnus. And became best friends with CO-Founder Kunal Bahl when joined school at DPS R.K.Puram in 11std. And have been best friends since then and always knew that were meant to do something big, that too with each other. In the beginning i.e. 2007 Snapdeal was a Coupon book business and then in 2010 with inspiration from Alibaba they started their own little venture of a daily deals platform and in2011 as an online marketplace, which isn’t little any more.

 Peyush Bansal of LENSKART

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“Log on, play on”

The most searched businessmen of the year in 2014 and Alumni of IIM-B and right now the CEO of Lenskart. In June 2008, he founded Valyoo Technologies and launched ‘searchmycampus.com’ which closed due to certain reasons. Lenskart was started in November 2010 as a team of 3. It was initiated with a vision to change the footing of eyewear in India and make it “fashionable”. They believe that half of India – 530 million Indians need vision correction but only 170 million have access to it. The logo of their brand symbolizes infinity.

“Entrepreneurship is passion for solving problems. Getting a bunch of people who sleep, breath, and eat your dreams.”

   Jyoti Bansal of AppDynamics

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So here’s another alumnus of IIT-Delhi. He had always been fascinated by the startup culture of the Silicon Valley in U.S. and wanted to be a part of it. A dream which he could only manage to fulfill after staying there for 7 years due to visa issues of an immigrant starting their own business. AppDynamics started in 2008.  It’s a 24/7 MRI for an organization’s website, picking up small problems before they debilitate a business and anger consumers. As of now he is its Chairman.

“Be flexible, and let go your ego”

 

PAYTM KARO! PAY THROUGH MOBILE!

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Right now my favorite pass time is going and asking and seeing whether shop vendors have paytm or not. Last week when we went for shopping, all our payment were through the one and only “paytm wallet”.

So a brief intro. of this game changer is that it was formed by Vijay shekhar sharma (Vjs), alumnus of DTU .He joined college at the age of 15 .Hailing from Aligarh the biggest drawback he faced was adapting to the alien language English. Always being a kitabi keeda (in his own words) he ended up making a company in 1997 (last years of college which he later sold).Being a true patriot he wanted to do something for India and didn’t choose a job in the land of immigrants (U.S.A)

So basically Paytm’s parent company is One97 Communications in which Jack Ma (founder of Alibaba) has 40% share, the largest shareholding and Vjs has 21%. Their business is divided into e-commerce, online recharge and payment wallet (the leader of the three).

Just a few days back they got RBI’s final approval to start with the operations of India first payment bank (which would start in a month). In which Vjs would have 51% share (making it purely Indian).

Paytm is the story of struggle to make accessibility of money easier and a pathway towards a cashless society. What was beautiful was that the day after the announcement of demonitisation Paytm had a two page advertisement in the newspaper (for which they had to make the printing press wait till 12:30 at night) .It tells there will always be people out there to challenge the status quo (SBI being so scared by it that its persuading its customers to download SBI-buddy)

Paytm got what we call in the business world “THE FIRST MOVER ADVANTAGE”

 

A payments bank in simple words,  can carry out most banking operations but can’t advance loans or issue credit cards. It can accept demand deposits (up to Rs 1 lakh), offer remittance services, mobile payments/transfers/purchases and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third party fund transfers.

REDCARPET- THE CARPET TO YOUR FINANCIAL STARDOM!!

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So I have had the chance to meet a RBI governor (let’s say THE RBI governor – Raghuram Rajan a few months back) and now a startup co-founder (Abhay Tamaria of REDCARPET). We had a competition being organized in our college by our marketing society where this startup was a sponsorer.

I had a small chat with Mr. Abhay Tamaria (IIM B Alumnus-finance and marketing – that calls for a clapping) and what I distinctively remember him saying is that if you dream of being an entrepreneur start observing your surrounding cause the next big thing might be in front of your eyes and alongside start analyzing the market around you.

Basically red-carpet is any college student’s personal credit card (they are basically becoming the new credit raters for the future loan takers) a startup based in Delhi-NCR as of now with the plans of making big (their official site claim that it’s better to be good than to be huge). We all know about Paytm and PayPal, they are our personal debit cards so this is just the opposite of that. They stepped on this idea with their diligent thinking and business environment observation.

This indicates towards the growing micro fiancé companies in our country, that to the ones who are looking forward towards a stability. In today’s Indian economy with a 60 % population below 27 and with the new dynamics of micro finance credit has become the need of the day. Today getting loans for online purchases, movie booking, ordering food is what any college kid looks forward too. So here’s red carpet providing loans to students in easy EMI’s.

So I guess you college students after reading this blog you would go to your play store (the ones staying in Delhi-NCR region  … others it’s just a matter of time) and give this app a chance.

Made in India startup – jugnoo

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A few days back I was going through YouTube (we all do that) I came across some videos about the concept of jugnoo (the auto hailing app) which struck a chord with me.The idea of penetrating the autowalas (who signify India whenever a Hollywood movie has to refer us) which is considered such a risky and bash sector was a really huge risk. Trying to make this sector more organized and trying to give them continuous work was a huge step. We usually see autowalas waiting for rides and the moment they get one they charge a really high price. Jugnoo has tried capturing and revolving around this problem. Trying to provide them (the autowalas) as many rides as possible with the help of app and charging lower from the customers (in comparison to the already prevailing rate). They try capitalizing on the huge frequency. The founders believe in having a few good people and provides training to them too.

Jugnoo is doing its own share of promoting technology friendliness. Due to this concept many autowalas under there umbrella have started using smartphones, internet. In their own way the startup is also motivating daily auto customers of jugnoo to become part of the e-finance world.  

What works for jugnoo is that it’s an indigenous idea made for the Indian scenario. Not an idea borrowed from the already reigning startups of the world which makes it so unique and worth a write-up! For they are helping the ones who have always been so misjudged.