The fabulous life of Airbnb's Brian Chesky, one of the youngest and richest tech founders in America

Brian Chesky didn’t know much about tech before starting Airbnb.

The 35-year-old CEO majored in industrial design in college and dabbled in hockey and bodybuilding in his 20s. But now, he’s grown an idea that stemmed from overbooked hotels into a multibillion-dollar startup — and has become one of Silicon Valley’s key players in the process.

Here’s how the upstate New York native became one of the richest young tech founders in America.

Chesky's high school yearbook quote was 'I'm sure I'll amount to nothing.' He thought it was funny -- his dad didn't.

'Earlier this year, he was happy to find out I'd be speaking at both my high school and college as the commencement speaker,' Chesky wrote on Instagram. 'See you soon Dad!'

At RISD, Chesky met Joe Gebbia, who would eventually co-found Airbnb.

Gebbia told Fortune that after graduation, he pulled Chesky aside and said: 'Before you get on the plane, there's something I need to tell you. We're going to start a company one day, and they're going to write a book about it.'

In his early 20s, Chesky was a competitive bodybuilder. He's described as still having '16-inch biceps.'

Kevork Djansezian/Getty

In a Fast Company profile from 2014, Chesky is described as an imposing figure: 'A former hockey player and bodybuilder with 16-inch biceps, the CEO commands attention. His boomerang grin and slant nose work to sharply focus his attention on you. Rather than turn his head toward me, he physically picks up his chair and pivots it directly so we're eye to eye.'

After graduating from RISD, Chesky moved to Los Angeles to work in industrial design.


Source: Fortune

But shortly thereafter, he moved to San Francisco with Gebbia. When a design conference came to town in 2007 resulting in all the hotels being sold out, Gebbia pitched Chesky the idea to rent out space for those who couldn't find a place to stay.

Along with a third cofounder, Nathan Blecharczyk, Gebbia and Chesky started what was at the time called

Since then, Airbnb has not only shortened its name, but has expanded to more than 34,000 cities and as of 2016, had been used by more than 60 million guests. The company is currently the second-highest valued startup in the U.S. at $31 billion.

In 2015, Chesky was named to the Time 100 as one of the most influential people alive. Apple design chief Jony Ive wrote at the time that Chesky's 'audacity is fabulous.'

Kimberly White/Getty Images for Fortune

Source: Business Insider

Now 35, Chesky owns a 13% stake in Airbnb and his personal net worth is $3.8 billion, landing him at #8 on the list of the world's wealthiest entrepreneurs under 40, according to Forbes.

Chris Weeks/Getty

Source: Forbes

All three of Airbnb's founders have publicly pledged to donate more than 50% of their wealth to the Giving Pledge, a philanthropic initiative started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.

Chesky is currently dating artist Elissa Patel, who he met on Tinder four years ago.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chesky and Patel do yoga together each week and book staycations in Airbnbs throughout San Francisco.

They have a golden retriever named Sir Richard Parker who hangs out at Airbnb headquarters...

...and accompanies them on road trips.

Earlier this year, Chesky and Patel, who is Indian by descent, visited Delhi together on what Chesky called the Airbnb Tour 2017.

Airbnb is still a privately-held startup, but Chesky hasn't ruled out taking the company public in the future, perhaps in another year. 'We certainly haven't ruled any event out,' he told his hometown paper in June.

Mike Windle/Getty

Source: The Daily Gazette

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