This is the pitch deck now-$31 billion Airbnb used when it was just getting started

Airbnb is one of several highly anticipated IPOs reportedly slated for 2019. Founded in 2008 as “AirBed&Breakfast,” the startup has raised more than $US4 billion to reach a $US31 billion valuation as it closes in on a public filing.

Airbnb cofoundersMike Windle/GettyAirbnb co-founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebba, and Nathan Blecharczyk

But it wasn’t always the glowing digital startup success story it’s known as today. Co-founders Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia originally saw the company as a way for travellers to rent mattresses from locals – and it stumbled through much of its first year. They finally got their break after being accepted into Silicon Valley’s prestigious startup accelerator Y Combinator.

There the startup put together a pitch deck to secure the first round of capital that ignited its explosive growth. The premise was simple and straightforward: “Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels.”

As part of our coverage of the genesis of today’s successful companies, BI Prime took a look at how Airbnb’s original pitch deck, in which the founders started by laying out a clear problem for travellers and hosts alike:

  • Price is an important concern for customers booking travel online.
  • Hotels leave you disconnected from the city and its culture.
  • No easy way exists to book a room with a local or become a host.

Although things like couch surfing did exist – there were 630,000 users on competitor site, Couchsurfing.com at the time – there was no easy, centralised platform that could be used around the world.

In the pitch deck, the team outlined the existing interest in the market and their solution: a “share culture,” where locals could make money renting space on their floors via air mattresses to strangers.

The rest of the deck outlines key considerations including:

  • Market size
  • Early mockups of the site
  • Plans to drive adoption
  • Main competitors
  • Airbnb’s competitive advantages

BI Prime is publishing dozens of stories like this each and every day. Want to get started by reading the full pitch deck?

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