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When planning a trip away, chances are Airbnb is the first thing that pops into your mind when thinking about accommodation. The company, founded in 2008, is a phenomenon that changed the hospitality industry forever and is valued today at US$10 billion. Today we’d like to share with you their case study, which has become a success reference in the innovation world.

We start with a question: How did necessity help Joe and Brian create one of the biggest companies in the world?

MVP, also known as, Minimum Viable Product

Airbnb founders, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, were having a tough time making rent. Because they were skint, they decided to buy a couple of spare mattresses and turn their apartment into a B&B. Much to their surprise, after posting the offer online, three people requested to book a night in their “mattress on the floor + brekkie” B&B. Each of these people paid them US$8 a night. Before the guests left, hey asked what they had enjoyed and what they would have liked to be different during their stay.

Cool – what does that have to do with MVP, though?

Instead of jumping on the idea and adding a permanent guest bedroom to their house, they created an MVP, which helps entrepreneurs to start a venture and learn in the quickest way possible. This was a crucial phase in the creation and success of Airbnb.


Using a guest as a “test” to their business idea, and having such a positive result from this experience, the idea of Airbnb was born, in 2008. Funnily enough, their “test guest”  – Nathan Blecharczyk – became their business partner and is the thirds co-founder of Airbnb. Their idea was so good, they found investors fairly quickly, and started to acquire new locations to rent out.

One of the things Nathan brought to the table, was the fact that the pictures they had of their apartment (taken by themselves) weren’t good enough to create a desire in people to stay there.

Testing is vital

With that insight, they started to test taking professional pictures of the locations to see if the booking would go up. And guess what? In one week, bookings had doubled up.

With bookings going up, investors started to pour more money into the business, and from 2008 to 2012, Airbnb had more than 10 million bookings to its name. Pretty impressive.

Can I become a business entrepreneur?

Of course, you can! Business Design Experience is a 2-day course that is the basis of applied entrepreneurship. In this short course, you will learn tools that will help you get your ideas off paper and accelerate the business development process through experimentation.

Interested? Check out course dates in your region.

Did You Know?

Design Thinking Experience is the first step you should take when embarking on an innovation journey. When combined with any other Echos’ course, promotional fees are applied. If you’d like to learn more, get in touch.

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