Timeline of Airbnb

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This is a timeline of Airbnb, a website for people to rent out lodging, and the associated company.

Big picture

Time period Development summary More details
October 2007 – January 2009 Conception, bootstrapping The initial concept is created by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. They launch the website. To raise money, they sell cereal boxes for Barack Obama and John McCain, candidates for the 2008 United States presidential election.
January 2009 – December 2010 Angel and venture funding, beginning of business takeoff Airbnb becomes part of the Winter 2009 Y Combinator class. The business grows steadily. Brian Chesky moves out of his own apartment to live off Airbnb for three months. In November 2010, Airbnb raises $7.2 million in venture funding.
January 2011 – April 2014 (mostly), partly ongoing International expansion, more fundraising, steady growth Airbnb begins operations in many cities around the world, and continues to grow steadily in usage.
January 2014 – present User experience, peace with the law, partnerships, more fundraising Airbnb redesigns its logo, launches new apps and an improved user experience, and strikes deals with city authorities in San Francisco and other cities that would make its service legally recognized while also requiring it to tax rentals. Airbnb also begins offering $1 million in insurance to both parties in its rental transactions. By June 2015, the total money raised by the company to-date is $2.3 billion, of which $1.5 billion was in the most recent round. It also starts partnerships with Handy, Concur, and Deutsche Telekom.

Full timeline

Year Month and date Event type Details
2007 October Idea creation Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia create the initial concept for AirBed & Breakfast during the Industrial Design Conference held by Industrial Designers Society of America.[1] The original site offers short-term living quarters, breakfast and a unique business networking opportunity for attendees who were unable to book a hotel in the saturated market.[2] Chesky and Gebbia themselves use Airbnb to help meet the rent for their loft in San Francisco.[3]
2008 February Team Harvard University graduate and technical architect Nathan Blecharczyk joins as the third co-founder of AirBed & Breakfast.[4]
2008 August 11 Product The Airbedandbreakfast.com website launches.[5]
2008 August–November Funding In order to raise enough seed money to sustain their business, Airbnb sells cereal boxes for Barack Obama and John McCain.[6] They sell 800 boxes at $40 each, netting $30,000 in funding for the company.[7] Their most successful single sale event is the Democratic National Convention in November 2008.[8]
2009 January Funding Airbnb is accepted into Y Combinator's Winter 2009 batch and receives $20,000 in funding.[9][10] Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham says that even though he is not a fan of Airbnb's idea, he is impressed by their creative methods for bootstrapping their funding situation by selling cereal.[8][11]
2009 March Product The website name is shortened from Airbedandbreakfast.com to Airbnb.com, and the site's content has expanded from air beds and shared spaces to a variety of properties including entire homes and apartments, private rooms, castles, boats, manors, tree houses, tipis, igloos, private islands and other properties.[12]
2010 June 21 Team In response to increasing overcrowding at his residence, that is doubling up as an Airbnb office, co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky decides to move out of his apartment and live using Airbnb for a few months.[13]
2010 November Funding Airbnb receives $7.2 million in Series A funding from Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital, and announces that out of 700,000 nights booked, 80% had occurred in the past six months.[14]
2011 February Usage milestone Airbnb announces its 1 millionth booking since the website launch in August 2008.[15][16]
2011 March 16–17 Funding Venture capitalist Fred Wilson publishes a blog post saying that his firm's decision not to invest in Airbnb was a mistake.[17] The next day, Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham publishes (with permission) correspondence between himself and Fred Wilson about the possibility of Wilson investing in Airbnb.[18]
2011 May 25 Endorsements Actor and partner at A-Grade Investments, Ashton Kutcher, announces a significant investment in the company and his role as a strategic brand advisor for the company.[19]
2011 May 31 Acquisitions by Airbnb, international expansion Airbnb acquires Accoleo, a small German clone of its service, thereby expanding to Germany.[20][21]
2011 June 29 – August 1 Controversy, missteps A woman, writing online under the name EJ, wrote on her blog that she had rented her apartment out using Airbnb and found that it was completely trashed with many of her valuable personal items stolen.[22] The post was picked up on Hacker News and by Michael Arrington for TechCrunch.[23][24] Airbnb investor Paul Graham wrote a note defending Airbnb and critical of Arrington, which received media circulation and criticism.[25][26] On August 1, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote a blog post apologizing for Airbnb's initially tepid response, and announcing a suite of features as part of the new Airbnb Safety Program: Airbnb Guarantee of $50,000 for hosts such as EJ who report property damage, a 24-hour customer hotline, a doubling of customer support, and more responsiveness to customer concerns.[27]
2011 July 24 Funding Airbnb raises $112 million in additional funding. The investment round is led by Andreessen Horowitz and other investors include DST Global Solutions and General Catalyst Partners.[28][29][30]
2011 October Funding, controversy An email allegedly written by Chamath Palihapitiya to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, that was critical of the manner in which Airbnb was structuring its funding round, is leaked to Kara Swisher of AllThingsD.[31][32] A follow-up reveals that new aspects of the deal are in development that might alleviate some of the concerns expressed by Palihapitiya, and he is reconsidering his decision not to invest in the funding round. He also expressed regret about the email being leaked, and he said that he was not responsible for the leak.[33][34]
2011 October International expansion Airbnb opens up its second international office in London in the United Kingdom.[35]
2012 January Usage milestone Airbnb announces its 5 millionth booking.[36]
2012 (early year) International expansion Airbnb opens six international offices, in the cities Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Moscow, and São Paulo.[37] These are in addition to existing offices in San Francisco, London, Hamburg, and Berlin where Airbnb maintains its international presence for the EMEA markets within a German incubator space.[38]
2012 June Usage milestone Airbnb announces its 10 millionth booking.[39]
2012 July 25 Acquisitions by Airbnb, international expansion Shortly before the 2012 Summer Olympics Airbnb acquires London-based rival CrashPadder, subsequently adding six thousand international listings to its existing inventory.[40]
2012 November 2 International expansion Airbnb co-founder and CEO Chesky announces his focus on Australia, the second largest Airbnb market behind the United States, as well as Thailand and Indonesia. To support this effort, Airbnb opens its 11th office in Sydney.[41] The Australian consumer accounts for one-tenth of the Airbnb user base.[42]
2012 November 12 International expansion Airbnb announces its strategy to move more aggressively into the Asian market with the launch of their newest headquarters in Singapore. The company's goal is to acquire an additional 2 million properties within the continent.[43]
2012 November 13 Acquisitions by Airbnb Airbnb acquires NabeWise, a city guide that aggregates curated information for specified locations, in November 2012.[44] This acquisition shifts the company focus toward offering hyperlocal recommendations to travelers.[45]
2012 December 13 Acquisitions by Airbnb Airbnb announces the acquisition of Localmind.[46] Localmind is a location-based question and answer platform that allows users to post questions about specific locations online. These questions are then answered in real-time by experts on the specified territories.[47]
2013 September International expansion Airbnb announces that European headquarters would be located in Dublin, Ireland.[48]
2014 January 31 Partnerships Airbnb announces plans to partner with home cleaning services whereby the home cleaning service is available at a discount to those who are about to host people via Airbnb, in order to incentivize hosts to prepare homes well for guests and also give guests a more standardized experience. Prospective partners include Homejoy and Handybook.[49]
2014 March 14 Company Airbnb announces plans to open a new "operational headquarters" for North America in Portland, Oregon, in summer 2014, but indicated that its main North American headquarters would remain in San Francisco.[50]
2014 April (unofficial rumors), August 1 (announcement in SEC filing) Funding It is announced in April that Airbnb is getting an investment by TPG Capital at a valuation of approximately $10 billion. The amount of funding is variously reported as $450 million and $500 million.[51][52] On August 1, the round is revealed to be a $475 million round.[53][54]
2014 July 16 Product Airbnb reveals design revisions to their site and mobile app, and introduced a new logo.[55] Some consider the new icon to be visually similar to genitalia,[56] but a consumer survey by Survata shows only a minority of respondents thought this was the case.[57]
2014 July 21 Partnerships Airbnb announces that its home cleaning trial will be in three cities, and lists Handybook as its sole partner. Homejoy, which had earlier been listed as a partner, is dropped.[58]
2014 July 28 Partnerships Airbnb announces a parternship with Concur, an expense reporting service for businesses, to make it easier for business travelers to report Airbnb stays as business expenses.[59]
2014 September 17 Financial/legal Airbnb announces that it will start collecting and remitting a 14% tax for short-term rentals in San Francisco starting October 1.[60]
2014 October 23 Funding Airbnb announces arrangements for an employee stock sale. Valuations for the sale are rumored at around $13 billion.[61][62]
2014 October 27 Financial/legal San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signs a law making short-term rentals legal in San Francisco, thereby legalizing Airbnb. The law gets the moniker of "Airbnb law" because Airbnb is the most affected company.[63]
2014 November 3 Financial/legal Vacation rental company HomeAway sues San Francisco for the Airbnb Law.[64][65]
2014 November 20 Product Airbnb expands its liability insurance program for hosts and landlords. Whereas the initial liability insurance program was limited to property damage due to the guest, the new program $1 million worth of protection in the case a guest is accidentally injured anywhere in a host’s building or on their property during their stay. Rentals starting January 15, 2015 will automatically be covered under the new program.[66]
2015 January 30 Financial/legal Airbnb announes that it will start collecting taxes in Amsterdam, San Jose, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.[67]
2015 February 25 Partnerships Airbnb announces a partnership with Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile, to have its app pre-installed on mobile phones in 13 countries. Those who register for the service via DT will get 30 euros of vouchers to stay in Airbnb rooms.[68]
2015 April 29 Product, accessibility Airbnb launches an official iPad app.[69]
2015 June 4 Product Airbnb adds a pricing recommendation tool, called Price Tips, offering suggestions on appropriate prices for people renting our apartments.[70]
2015 June 28 Funding Airbnb closes $1.5 billion in additional funding, bringing its funding total to $2.3 billion. The valuation for the round is $25.5 billion.[71] Both the amount raised and the valuation are higher than those originally projected when rumors of the round originally circulated in late February/early March (when the numbers were $1 billion and $20 billion respectively).[72][73]
2015 August 25 (announcement), October 1 (start date) Legal Airbnb announces that it will start collecting a tourist tax on Airbnb rentals in Paris starting October 1. The tax amount will be 0.83 euros per night.[74]
2015 September 3 Product Airbnb releases an app for the Apple Watch, whose main focus is to facilitate communication between guests and hosts.[75]
2015 September 11 Acquisitions by Airbnb Airbnb announces its acquisition of Vamo, a company based in Seattle whose product is a multi-city trip planning app. The app would be shut down as part of the acquisition; the purpose of the acquisition is to use the team's expertise to help with the aspects of the user experience related to travel beyond just booking an Airbnb.[76][77]
2015 November 4 Financial/legal San Francisco voters vote No on Proposition F, a measure to restrict Airbnb rentals in the city.[78] In the run-up to the vote, Airbnb spent over $8 million in advertising to the public against the measure, whereas groups supporting Proposition F spent less than a million dollars.[79] As part of its advertising campaign, Airbnb put out ads highlighting the role that the $12 million in taxes paid by it has played in funding city operations, but the ads are perceived by many as tasteless, so the company withdraws them and apologizes.[80]
2015 November 12 Product, partnerships Airbnb announces a new "Business Travel Ready" badge and host tools.[81]
2016 June Legal Airbnb sues the city of San Francisco over a new law that would require Airbnb to verify that their hosts are registered with the city.[82][83]
2016 July Funding Airbnb is reported to be raising $850 million at a $30 billion valuation.[84]
2016 August The city of Barcelona cracks down on homes that are illegally rented out to tourists, including houses listed on Airbnb. In addition, Barcelona's town hall announces that it would fine Airbnb and HomeAway (a similar service).[85]
2016 September Acquisition Airbnb acquires the travel startup Trip4real.[86]
2016 October Competition Two Airbnb rivals, Wimdu and 9flats, consolidate in a merger.[87]
2016 October Legal Airbnb sues New York City over a new legislation that would make it illegal for Airbnb to display housing units that cannot be rented legally, and would also allow fines of up to $7,500 on hosts who rent out housing illegally. In its suit, Airbnb argues that the liability for rental listings belongs to the hosts who post them.[88][89][90][91]
2016 November Product Airbnb launches the "experiences" feature in the Airbnb app. This feature allows hosts to offer tours and events in addition to places to stay.[92]
2016 December 2 Legal Airbnb settles the lawsuit it filed against New York City. Airbnb agrees to drop the suit as long as the city fines only the hosts and not Airbnb.[93]
2017 January Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, tweets that the company will give free housing to refugees and any others not allowed into the United States as a result of President Trump's executive order to temporarily ban refugees from the United States.[94][95]
2017 February Acquisition Airbnb aquires Luxury Retreats, an Airbnb-like service for high-end homes and premium vacation homes. The deal is reported to be $200–$300 million. As of the time of the deal, it is Airbnb's largest acquisition.[96][97]

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