Airbnb Takes the Lead!

23 05 2011
Image representing Airbnb as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Airbnb is a triumph in the start-up world. Here is a quick recap over the life of Airbnb‘s finance:

Airbnb has raised $7,800,000 to date. Here is our complete financing history. Airbnb approaches many investors in 2008. Most say “the market is too small.” Some are concerned 2 of the 3 founders are designers, thus creating a founding DNA different from the success patterns they are looking for.

Running out of money, Airbnb starts selling collectible cereal, and makes $30,000 in the process.

With their website low in traffic, their kitchen is without food. Airbnb starts living off their collectible cereal. This is a low point.

At a dinner with the founders of Justin.tv in November, 2008, Airbnb is convinced to apply for Y-Combinator, and gets accepted. PG says he is skeptical of the idea, but likes the founders because they “won’t die,” and are “very imaginative.” Airbnb finally raises $20,000.

By Demo Day in April, 2009, Airbnb becomes “ramen profitable,” and finally stops eating the leftover collectible cereal in their kitchen. Sequoia Capital takes notice. Sequoia leads a Seed Round of $600,000, led by Greg McAdoo. Keith Rabois, Kevin Hartz, and Jawed Karim of Youniversity Ventures participate.

700,000 room-nights booked later, Airbnb announces a Series A Round of $7,200,000 led by Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners to expand from 8,000 cities to every city known to humankind. Reid Hoffman leads the round for Greylock Partners. New angels include Ron Conway, Jeremy Stoppelman, and Elad Gil.





Airbnb, A Self-Hosted Priceline

22 05 2011

Unlike Priceline.com, after signing into Airbnb via their Facebook integration, I quickly feel in love with the website’s social design. Airbnb uses community, conversation, and identity to creates a great experience for each viewer. The designers at Airbnb use many dynamics:

Simplicity:  It is extremely easy for viewers to become users. The website structure is simple and intuitive; anyone can navigate the website. This is great because what you want to do, is exactly what they’d like you to do—act. View’s use their Facebook account as an identity to surf Airbnb. This not only builds trust, the identity simplifies users actions.

Converging, Diverging and Conveyor Belts: When you sign-in, you choose either to look for a room or host a room. When users offer to host,users are directed and diversified by your city and type of place (such as a house, beach-front, or even a boat, etc).  When you look for a room, Airbnb offers you exactly what interest’s you based on instinctive appeal. Once directed to exciting places, like Cress Grove Manor, you see comments other’s have posted about the host before desciding. This architecture is very difficult to design, and part of what makes Airbnb so valuable to investors.

Roadblocks: Airbnb uses many game like features. In the example of roadblocks, hosts begin with limited actions until they complete desired tasks.  Once host post a picture and 250 word description, new path ways open up and more customizing is available, for example.

Are You Sure?: Without invading your Flow, options to save and confirm your movement throughout the site is constant. Similarly, this compares to pressing the call button after typing a phone number into the phone. Airbnb is exceptional at preventing errors.

Choices: Default prices are recommended for your room. The nights you set available are interactive in a calendar. No matter how you decide to price your room, finding the next move to book-up your room is a game you hosts love to play. Just like a MMOP, users are wheeling, dealing, and spending time on the user interface. Remember, Airbnb is a website designed so you do what they wants you to do; effortlessly have fun and make everyone money!

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What dynamics stand out the most when you surf the internet?