Brian Joseph Chesky is an American entrepreneur who started Airbnb—an online service for booking accommodations for travelers—along with his partners. He also serves as the CEO of Airbnb, and was listed in Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People of 2015’. Chesky began his journey as an entrepreneur during his college days when he used to run a hockey team. When his hockey team was cancelled at the last moment, he and his teammates began re-branding their team. They transformed the team and brought a new mascot as the team’s logo which helped to revitalize it. On a similar note, he got the idea for Airbnb in 2007 when he faced some financial difficulties. Chesky and his roommates needed cash so they decided to rent their apartment. Ultimately, this led to the birth of Airbnb which grew gradually and gave better opportunities to travelers looking for a place to stay. There are many reasons for his success and one of the most important reasons is the fact that he gave more importance to his customers and the services they needed rather than the ideas of the developers.
After completing college, Brian Chesky was working in Los Angeles at 3DID as an industrial designer and strategist. Later, he moved to San Francisco and started sharing an apartment with his friend Gebbia. It was in the year 2007 that the whole idea of Airbnb came to Chesky. He was sharing his apartment with Gebbia when the Industrial Designers Society of America was hosting its conference in San Francisco. During this conference, all the hotel rooms were booked. As the duo was finding it difficult to pay their rent, they decided to rent their apartment for money to the guests of the conference. They came up with the idea of ‘Airbed and Breakfast’ and bought three air mattresses for the three guests who stayed at their place the first night.
Harvard graduate and technical architect, Nathan Blecharczyk joined as the third co-founder of Airbnb in February 2008. Each co-founder took over unique roles and Chesky became the leader and chief executive officer. To invite funds for their business, Chesky and his co-founders came up with an innovative idea and made special-edition cereals called ‘Obama O’s’ and ‘Cap’n McCains’ based on presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. The special edition cereals impressed the seed accelerator company Y Combinator and they accepted Airbnb into a seed funding program.
Soon the company opened many offices in Europe. In 2011, Chesky announced that a 24-hour hotline service would be made available to handle complaints from residents and that additional staff support would be given in case of theft or vandalism. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, more than 120,000 people were accommodated in Airbnb homes. By March 2015, Airbnb had a $20 billion valuation. In 2015, Airbnb became an official sponsor of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.
In 2015, Chesky was named in Forbes list of America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40. He was also seen on TIME’s ‘100 Most Influential People for 2015’. In May 2015, the then President of US Barack Obama named him an Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship. In 2016, he joined Warren Buffett and Bill Gates’ ‘The Giving Pledge’ where a group of billionaires pledge to give majority of their wealth away. He also appeared in the Youngest Forbes 400 list in 2016.
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Brian Chesky was born on 29 August 1981 in Niskayuna, New York. His parents are Robert H. Chesky and Deborah Chesky; they both were social workers. His father is of Polish ancestry, whereas his mother is of Italian descent. He also has a younger sister, Allison.
When Chesky was a child, he was interested in art, drawing, and design, and he often redesigned shoes and toys. Later, his interests shifted to landscape architecture and design.
In 1999, Chesky started attending the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2004, he received his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Industrial Design. While he was attending RIS, Chesky met Joe Gebbia, who later became his roommate and also co-founder of his business Airbnb.
Chesky is dating Elissa Patel who is an artist. They first met on the dating app Tinder and have been dating since then.