If you don’t know the story of how AirBnB started, this post is worth a read. It goes to show that a big company can start from very humble beginnings.
“In 2007, designers Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia could not afford the rent on their San Francisco apartment. To make ends meet, they decided to turn their loft into a lodging space, but, as Gebbia explained, “We didn’t want to post on Craigslist because we felt it was too impersonal. Our entrepreneur instinct said ‘build your own site.’ So we did.”
A design conference was coming to town and hotel space was limited, so they set up a simple website with pictures of their loft-turned-lodging space—complete with three air mattresses on the floor and the promise of a home-cooked breakfast in the morning. This site got them their first three renters, each one paying $80; after that first weekend, they began receiving emails from people around the world asking when the site would be available for destinations like Buenos Aires, London, and Japan.”
“In the summer of 2008, the founders needed a way to raise money. They bought a large amount of cereal and designed special edition election-themed boxes, released that fall—Obama O’s and Cap’n McCain’s, which were sold at convention parties for $40 a box . They sold 500 boxes of each cereal, helping them to raise around $30,000 for AirBed & Breakfast.”