Airbnb Cofounder Talks about Rejection

01/08/2015
airbnb CEO_Lead Investor

When Airbnb was first starting out in 2008, it struggled to spark the interest of prominent investors. Some investors that Brian Chesky and his cofounding partners first approached back in 2008 even walked out halfway through the meeting.

“I remember going to somebody who we respected, pitching them about what we were doing, and he said, ‘Ah, I hope that’s not the only thing you are working on.’”

Six years later, Airbnb – for all its controversy – is seen as a missed opportunity by some investors. Airbnb is quickly becoming one of the most popular companies across the globe, recently starting up in Cuba. It is currently valued at over $25 billion. It’s safe to say many of these investors likely regret not giving Airbnb more thoughtful consideration. Last week, CEO and cofounder, Brian Chesky, talked about these early days:

 ”On June 26, 2008, our friend Michael Seibel introduced us to 7 prominent investors in Silicon Valley. We were attempting to raise $150,000 at a $1.5M valuation. That means for $150,000 you could have bought 10% of Airbnb. Below you will see 5 rejections. The other 2 did not reply. The investors that rejected us were smart people, and I am sure we didn’t look very impressive at the time”.

Airbnb Rejection Emails

airbnb_Lead Investor airbnb_3 airbnb_2 airbnb_1 There are some big lessons to draw from this; success is a matter of remaining undeterred and optimistic in the face of repeated failure. As Brian Chesky puts it:

“Next time you have an idea and it gets rejected, I want you to think of these emails”.

Persistence is everything!

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