The unique short-term homestays and experiences that Airbnb offers can’t stop raising people’s curiosity to know who owns Airbnb. Indeed, it’s worth being curious to know the creative minds behind Airbnb company. Airbnb is owned by groups of shareholders. Brian Chesky, who is the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, is the most influential shareholder of the company. The other co-cofounders of the company are Joseph Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk.
Brief History of Airbnb Co-founders
Brian Chesky is an American businessman who was born in 1981. He obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in industrial design at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2004. He met Joseph Gebbia, one of Airbnb’s co-founders, while he was studying at RISD. Brian Chesky is a philanthropist as he is committed to giving a majority of his wealth to charity.
Gebbia is an American designer and entrepreneur who was born in 1981in Atlanta, Georgia. He has always had a passion for sports, art, and music, right from his childhood days. He studied Graphic Design and Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). It was at RISD that he met Brian Chesky. While he was at RISD, Gebbia took additional business-related classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Brown University. Immediately after he graduated from RISD, he worked as a designer for Chronicle Books in San Francisco before he and Chesky came up with the idea to establish Airbnb.
Blecharczyk is a businessman who was born in 1983. He started making money for himself right from the time he was in high school by creating his own software business. He studied computer science at Harvard University. He continued writing programs during his days at Harvard University. He once served as an engineer at OPNET Technologies and lead developer at Batiq before joining Airbnb. When he finally joined Airbnb, he wrote Airbnb’s first website and served as the company’s chief technology officer. Later, in early 2017, he became the chief strategy officer at Airbnb. Also, in October of the same year, he became chairman of Airbnb China.
History of Airbnb
The idea to establish the Airbnb business started in October 2007 when the Industrial Designers Society of America hosted a conference in San Francisco. At that time, Brian Chesky was sharing an apartment with Gebbia in San Francisco. A significant number of people who came for the conference couldn’t get accommodation in neighboring hotels since all accommodations were booked already. Chesky and Gebbia decided to solve the accommodation problem and earn some money from doing so. Hence, they bought three air mattresses and decided to rent their apartment to guests. They had three guests on the first night. Later, in February 2008, Nathan Blecharczyk, a technical architect, joined Chesky and Gebbia and became the third co-founder of Airbnb. Chesky served as the CEO of the new company.
The three businessmen incorporated unique ideas into their businesses. One of those unique ideas involved creating special-edition cereal boxes, which they named “Obama O’s” and “Cap’n McCains” to raise funds for Airbnb business. The names of the cereal boxes were inspired by two presidential candidates, Barack Obama, and John McCain. The idea helped the co-founders raise about $30,000 after selling packaged cereals at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. Aside from the money they made from sales, the cereal boxes helped them attract the attention of Paul Graham, the co-founder of Y Combinator, who added Airbnb to Y Combinator’s seed funding program. The company began to open offices and homes in other international locations in Europe just within its first year of incorporation. As of 2016, Airbnb has grown so well enough to sponsor the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The sponsorship helped to boost the company’s popularity worldwide. Airbnb eventually went public in December 2020.
Airbnb started trading its shares on December 10, 2020, at an Initial price of $68 per share. Almost 52 million shares were available for sale on Nasdaq. Surprisingly, the value of each share skyrocketed to $146 per share just 24 hours after they became available for sale. The rapid increase in Airbnb’s value puts Airbnb’s valuation at approximately $86.5 billion on December 11, 2020.
Major Shareholders of Airbnb
The largest shareholders of Airbnb include the following:
Vanguard Group, Inc.
The Vanguard Group holds 5.59% of Airbnb shares, worth about $2.53 billion. Vanguard Group, Inc is a registered investment advisor in Malvern, Pennsylvania, having approximately $7 trillion in global assets under its management as of January 13, 2021. The Vanguard Group, Inc., is currently the largest provider of mutual funds worldwide
Fidelity Management & Research Company (FMR Co.)
Fidelity Management & Research Company holds 4.75% of Airbnb shares, worth about $2.15 billion. The company is a multinational financial services company in Boston, Massachusetts. It has approximately $4.5 trillion worth of assets under its management as of December 2021.
Capital Research Global Investors
Capital Research Global Investors holds 4.60% of Airbnb shares, worth about $2.08 billion. It is an investment management firm. The company has more than $2.6 trillion in assets under management. Capital Research Global Investors has been in existence since 1931. Thus, it’s one of the world’s oldest investment management organizations.
Blackrock Inc .
Blackrock Inc. holds 4.35% of Airbnb shares, worth about $1.97 billion. BlackRock, Inc is a multinational investment company in New York City. It is the largest asset manager in the world, with about $10 trillion worth of assets as of January 2022.
Polen Capital Management, LLC
Polen Capital Management owns 3.19% of Airbnb’s shares, worth about $1.44 billion. The company is a global investment manager that delivers varieties of high-yield strategies.
Aside from the institutional investors above, some insiders like Brian Chesky and Joseph Gebbia also hold a significant amount of Airbnb shares.
Ever since Airbnb went public on December 10, 2020, Airbnb has become largely owned by institutional holders. No single individual or institutional holder can claim entire ownership of the company, as its ownership is well diversified. All shareholders and the company’s executives have some roles to play in making decisions for Airbnb, since there is no sole ownership.