Over 500k people are staying in an Airbnb tonight. And the company hopes to have nearly 800k staying in one by this summer. CEO Brian Chesky gave these numbers at Code today, revealing his wide-eyed plan for the housing yield-management startup.
In addition to wanting there to be a million stays by summer, Chesky expressed his desire for Airbnb to own all experiences around a vacation:
“Let’s say you get off a plane in Paris. People don’t go to cities to stay in homes,” he told Kara Swisher onstage. “They go to cities to have an experience. What would you want in Paris?” “A French person yelling at me,” joked Swisher. “Okay, imagine that you can do it on demand.”
While he did confirm that they would not be doing flights, Chesky remained vague about what exactly they would be doing. He did say he wanted Airbnb users to be able to design their entire trip experience through Airbnb. The service currently partners with Handy for cleaning, but could possibly scoop up one or all of the thousands of “Airbnb for experiences” startups out there to round out its offerings: Peek, Vayable and Welcome for starters.
And this, perhaps, is why the company is raising a muffin-basket-load of money, a fact that Swisher brought up and we had earlier reported: “We’re doing well and we don’t need to raise more money,” Chesky told Swisher. “I don’t think you’re profitable and I do think you’re raising more money,” she retorted.
The last confirmed valuation of Airbnb was $13 billion, half of what Marriott is worth. We reported that it was raising $20 billion back in February.
Chesky was chuffed about the company’s recent traction in Cuba, the fact that one-fifth of the 600k people who stayed in Brazil at the 2014 World Cup stayed in an Airbnb, and that 55 percent of Airbnb hosts are women. To match that user demographic, 47 percent of Airbnb employees are women and 40 percent of managers are women. (The board is all men, but Chesky said he had hopes they could bring on a woman “soon.”)
Airbnb hasn’t always been as easy to understand as “renting a place someone else isn’t using.” As our Ryan Lawler summated:
Investor Fred Wilson famously passed on the company, despite Paul Graham’s insistence that the idea was much bigger than just renting out your couch to a stranger. One investor walked out of a pitch meeting in a cafe when one of the founders went to the bathroom. And then there’s the story of how the founders were, for a time, living off the breakfast cereal they had taken to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
The company offers an insane variety of properties to rent from mansions to trailers parked on a dirt lot. And Chesky, along with co-founders Joe Gebbia and Nate Blecharczyk, has taken the company a long way from a friend’s couch.
“I used to worry about competitors,” he reminisced, “but Paul Graham told me that startups die of suicide not homicide; Startups die of self-inflicted wounds. And the older you get the stronger the wind gets.”