Transparency is worth $1bn today

17

Every heard of AirBnB.com (Air Bed n Breakfast)?

Forward thinking, start-up entrepruneur Brian Chesky has created a service that bridges the gap between travelers and ‘spare bedrooms’. Anyone can become a hotel for the night and anyone can book a room, with the only middleman being the website. That transparency has earned Chesky a $1bn valuation as he is raising $100m to fund the huge growth he is seeing.

This is how airbnb works.

Interesting that many tech savvy investors and even travel businesses passed on this investment as they didnt think people would want to offer their spare bedrooms. BUT Chesky’s bet paid off as airbnb has grown at over 800% per year since and has booked over 1.6m rooms.

Transparency = $

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16 Comments

  1. 2011-06-05 09:34:50

    There was a story around the time of the South By Southwest Festival about the potential for people being fined for renting out their spare bedrooms. It is a great idea but the regulators are going to start putting a hard stop to it if it really starts to take off.

  2. 2011-06-02 22:37:45

    This reminds me of a place "long ago and far away"... in the early 80's, in San Jose, CA to be exact. I was a young teen member of a "science fiction club" run by a couple adults (at least legally; mentally is another story). They were acquainted with a convention promoter who had set up a Star Wars convention in SJ where one of the guests would be Peter Mayhew, AKA "Chewbacca". Apparently in Europe, or perhaps just GB in particular, it was common for travelers to stay the night at homes of locals, in just these kinds of spare bedrooms. I'm not sure who lobbied who, but the promoter and the presiding members of the club were aware of this, and the promoter, happy to save some money otherwise spent putting Mayhew up in some fancy hotel, asked him if he'd like to stay at "a friend's place" the weekend of the convention. Mayhew, still being new to this whole "movie star" business (this must have been '81 or '82 or so, just after "Empire Strikes Back" came out), said, "Sure; that's what people in my neck of the World do anyway". Long story short, we all - the adult "presidents" of the club, Peter Mayhew, and a half-dozen somewhat star-struck teenagers - had an absolute blast just "hanging out" and goofing off in this somewhat unconventional "star suite" environment. Mayhew mentioned the next morning how he had to sleep diagonally in the guest-bedroom's queen-sized bed, but otherwise was quite pleased with the experience - and of course all us kids were perfectly happy camping out on the living room floor in sleeping bags. It was a lovely weekend of "cultural exchange" all around... and apparently quite common outside the US. Kudos to this guy for facilitating such a simple idea - some really neat experiences can come from this; honestly, how many axe-murderers ARE there out there? Far more likely people will just get to meet and experience new people, in a very benign and friendly environment, and everyone will come out the better. Relax; there's lots of fun to be had in life. Quit being so scared!!! :-) -MJ

  3. 2011-06-01 12:41:08

    Strikes me as an absolutely brilliant way to become a bedbug hostel. And it doesn't have to extend to rape before unknown people hanging out in your house could become a problem, anywhere from general unpleasantness to filth to theft.

  4. 2011-06-01 12:03:48

    The capitalist in me says "why not?" from Chesky's perspective. "I am 3 years in and look at what I am worth!!!" The follow up blog entry: http://www.transparencyrevolution.com/2011/06/you-rub-my-back-ill-run-yours-oh-and-well-be-rich/ Explores the puppet masters in silicon valley.

  5. 2011-06-01 09:42:33

    if he has a 1.b valuation and is raising 100m then I suspect it won't be that hard for him to buy off a congressman or two or to come up with legal and insurance teams to take on the issues brought up here. As for the issues about bad people, how is this any different than any other hotel with maids entering rooms where the hotel provides porn ... or check in clerks sitting alone at 3am? This is an idea that could be made illegal, but can't be crushed. If they make this illegal, it will just become an illegal enterprise.

  6. 2011-06-01 08:54:12

    "Check your local zoning laws. You’ll almost certainly find that it’s already illegal. And if it catches on, expect enforcement, because it deprives municipalities of hotel/motel tax revenue." Way around it: "They're acquaintances of mine. No, I haven't known them long, but they were going to be in town, and I told them they could stay here for a small donation to help defray the expense of putting them up."

  7. [...] It’s the monetized version of couchsurfing. [...]

  8. 2011-06-01 03:44:54

    It’s called “calling the police”. Ingenious, no?
    No. Too late, yes.

  9. 2011-05-31 22:36:39

    mariner says:

    Legislators funded by hotel lobbyists begin outlawing this service in 3 … 2 … 1.
    Check your local zoning laws. You'll almost certainly find that it's already illegal. And if it catches on, expect enforcement, because it deprives municipalities of hotel/motel tax revenue.

  10. 2011-05-31 22:09:50

    Liability exists in such a situation for the homeowner, beyond the understanding of most non-lawyer mortals. God help the home owner whose guest slips in the shower and breaks a hip, or the home owner who has a guest that simply claims he was scalded in the shower.

  11. 2011-05-31 22:05:23

    Hmmm. Laws vary quite a bit in different jurisdictions. Do you have a signed contract? Is that contract actually enforceable in your area? What liability are you incurring? Is that 'guest' a legal tenant? If they refuse to leave, what are your legal options? Are you subject to operating an unlicensed business? Are you subject to operating an illegal business? Are you subject to operating a business in an area zoned for residential? Are you subject to operating an unlicensed boarding house? Are you subject to operating an illegal boarding house? If your 'guest' brings some cocaine or other drugs with him/her will you lose your house to forfeiture? etc etc etc

  12. 2011-05-31 20:31:59

    It's called "calling the police". Ingenious, no?

  13. 2011-05-31 19:58:42

    the only thing left to worry about is "...psycho killer, qu'est que c'est..." At one level, I love the concept - we've had au pairs and houseguests of many sorts over the years - but you're really taking a random chance here. 99.99% of people actually really are OK but that .01% are problematic, no? Reviews of other users are fine for books, but for animated carbon I think I'd like a bit more snooping in advance. Did I miss some key screening feature here?

  14. 2011-05-31 19:28:08

    Legislators funded by hotel lobbyists begin outlawing this service in 3 ... 2 ... 1.

  15. 2011-05-31 19:17:22

    When I read the link from Instapundit, I was ready with the wit of "it's not worth my sanity: having some relative down in his luck tapping at the door". This is very interesting though.

  16. 2011-05-31 18:31:54

    So, what is there plan when some host decides to rape their guest?

  17. 2011-05-31 18:24:52

    How long before people get fined for renting their spare rooms without a license?

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  1. [...] It’s the monetized version of couchsurfing. [...]

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