January 27, 2023 | Eul Basa

The Key To A Successful Start-Up, According To Airbnb's CEO

When it comes to start-ups, most entrepreneurs would agree that having a strong concept is the key to success. But Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, says there is so much more to starting a business than just running with a great idea. In BBC's CEO Secrets series, Chesky revealed that who you collaborate with can make all the difference in your entrepreneurial efforts.

While establishing a concept and choosing an appropriate market is essential for developing a start-up, entrepreneurs often focus too heavily on that aspect of the process and not enough on the team of individuals attached to the project. After 13 years of growing Airbnb into a multibillion-dollar business, Chesky would know this struggle all too well.

"I'd rather work with great founders on a not great idea, than not-excellent founders on a great idea," he said.


Chesky co-founded Airbnb with his former roommates Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharcyzk in 2007. Initially, they intended it to be an option for boosting rent, but after failing to get investors on board early on, they knew their concept needed some major improvements. Instead of quitting, which Chesky cited as one of the main reasons why start-ups fail, he and his partners continued to work through the problems that Airbnb faced.

"If you have a great team, you can take an idea that people might think is a little crazy and you can find a way in."

Despite the hardships, the three co-founders remained in business together and never stopped pursuing their goals. As a result of their perseverance, Airbnb managed to get investors on board in 2009, and ten years later, it would go public at a market value of $89 billion.

Today, Chesky serves as Airbnb's CEO, while Gebbia chairs the company's nonprofit, Airbnb.org, and Blecharczyk runs Airbnb China. Together, they've proven that success is much easier to achieve when you stick with the right people.



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