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Brian Chesky’s Home-Sharing Quest

Brian Joseph Chesky (born August 29, 1981) is an American businessman and industrial designer. He is the co-founder and CEO of the peer-to-peer lodging service Airbnb. Chesky was named one of Time‘s “100 Most Influential People of 2015”.

Chesky is co-founder and chief executive officer of Airbnb, the homestay and vacation services company with more than 4 million hosts worldwide. The San Francisco-based publicly traded company has had more than 1.4 billion guests since it was founded in 2008 and reported revenue of $8.4 billion in 2022.

The majority of Chesky’s fortune is derived from his stake in Airbnb, an online marketplace for travel services. Chesky founded the company in 2008 with Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia. It has more than 4 million hosts and has served more than 1.4 billion guests, according to the company’s website.

Chesky holds about 65.6 million of the unlisted Class B shares in Airbnb, according to a May 2023 regulatory filing. Of these, 2 million shares are pledged to a loan and are not counted towards his net worth. He also owns about 17.6 million Class A shares in Airbnb, according to a July 2023 filing.

Airbnb’s press office didn’t respond to emailed requests for comment on Chesky’s net worth.

Career

After attending college, Chesky worked as an industrial designer and strategist at 3DID, Inc. in Los Angeles. In 2007, he moved to San Francisco where he shared an apartment with Gebbia. In October 2007, the Industrial Designers Society of America was hosting a conference in San Francisco and all hotel rooms were booked. The pair could not afford rent for the month and decided to rent their apartment for money. They purchased three air mattresses and marketed this idea as “Airbed and Breakfast”, with three guests staying the first night.

In February 2008, Harvard graduate and technical architect Nathan Blecharczyk became the third co-founder of Airbnb. Each co-founder assumed a role within the new company, with Chesky becoming the leader and chief executive officer. To receive funding, Chesky and his co-founders created special-edition cereals called “Obama O’s” and “Cap’n McCains”, based on presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. Impressed by the cereal boxes, Y Combinator accepted Airbnb into its seed funding program. In its first year, the company began internationalizing and opened several offices in Europe. In 2011, Chesky wrote a letter on behalf of the company for its handling of a resident complaint about tenant vandalism by announcing a 24-hour hotline, additional staff support and a guarantee for theft or vandalism. In 2015, Chesky announced that Airbnb was an official sponsor of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He said that more than 120,000 people had stayed in Airbnb homes during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. As of December 2020, Airbnb went public at a $100 billion valuation.

Chesky told Kara Swisher‘s Recode Decode podcast that he has a “standing regular checkin” phone call with former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Philanthropy

On June 11, 2016, Chesky joined Warren Buffett and Bill Gates‘ ‘The Giving Pledge‘, a group of billionaires who have committed to giving the majority of their wealth away.

In May 2022, The Obama Foundation announced a $100 million gift from Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky. The gift was to launch a new scholarship program for students pursuing careers in public services. The Voyager Scholarship aka The Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service aims to support students in their junior and senior years of college with up to 50,000 in financial aid, a $10,000 stipend and free Airbnb housing to pursue a summer work-travel experience between their junior and senior years of college; a $2,000 travel credit every year for 10 years following graduation; an annual summit; and a network of mentors

Biography

Education: Rhode Island School of Design

Chesky was born on Aug. 29, 1981, the son of two social workers, according to a June 2015 article in Fortune. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design he moved to San Francisco and rented a flat with classmate Joe Gebbia. Running short of rent in October 2007, they sold sleeping spaces in their apartment and decided to commercialize the idea.

After being joined by engineer and co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, the trio started a website in August 2008 and were accepted into startup incubator Y Combinator in 2009. A year later they received their first round of venture capital funding. The company’s December 2020 initial public offering was the biggest-ever of its kind in the U.S. at that time.

The trio joined the Giving Pledge in June 2016.

Milestones

  • 1981 Brian Chesky is born.
  • 2004 Graduates from Rhode Island School of Design.
  • 2007 Rents out airbeds in his San Francisco apartment.
  • 2008 Airbnb is founded.
  • 2009 Company joins startup incubator Y Combinator.
  • 2011 Actor Ashton Kutcher invests in Airbnb.
  • 2016 Signs the Giving Pledge.
  • 2016 Funding round values Airbnb at $30 billion.
  • 2020 Airbnb files for IPO, releasing its S1 filing

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