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Brian Chesky

Brian Joseph Chesky (born August 29, 1981) is an American billionaire technology entrepreneur who co-founded the peer to peer lodging service Airbnb. Chesky is the CEO of the company and was named one of Time's "100 Most Influential People of 2015".

Early life and education

Brian Chesky was born on August 29, 1981, in Niskayuna, New York. He is the son of Deborah and Robert H. Chesky. His father is of Polish descent and his mother is of Italian origin. Chesky's parents were both social workers. He has a younger sister, Allison. As a child, Chesky was interested in art, drawing replicas of paintings, and design, redesigning shoes and toys. He later became interested in landscape architecture and design.

In 1999, Chesky started attending the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design in 2004. During his time at RISD, Chesky met Joe Gebbia, who would later be one of the co-founders of Airbnb.

Career

After attending college, Chesky worked as an industrial designer and strategist at 3DID, Inc. in Los Angeles. He later moved to San Francisco, where he shared an apartment with Gebbia. In October 2007, the Industrial Designers Society of America was hosting a conference in San Francisco and all hotel rooms were booked. The pair could not afford rent for the month and decided to rent their apartment for money. They purchased three air mattresses and marketed this idea as "Airbed and Breakfast", with three guests staying the first night.

In February 2008, Harvard graduate and technical architect Nathan Blecharczyk became the third co-founder of Airbnb. Each co-founder assumed a role within the new company, with Chesky becoming the leader and chief executive officer. In order to receive funding, Chesky and his co-founders created special-edition cereals called "Obama O’s" and "Cap'n McCains", based on presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. Impressed by the cereal boxes, Y Combinator accepted Airbnb into its seed funding program. In its first year, the company began internationalizing and opened several offices in Europe. In 2011, Chesky wrote a letter on behalf of the company for its handling of a resident complaint about tenant vandalism by announcing a 24-hour hotline, additional staff support and a guarantee for theft and vandalism. In 2015, Chesky announced that Airbnb was an official sponsor of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He said that more than 120,000 people had stayed in Airbnb homes during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. As of March 2015, Airbnb has a $20 billion valuation.

In April 2017, Chesky featured as first protagonists of the podcast series by Reid Hoffman (Linkedin co-founder) Masters of Scale, among other business members of success such as Mark Zuckerberg, John Elkann and Diane Green. Here he discussed the strategy adopted by Airbnb to scale.

Philanthropy

On June 1, 2016, Chesky joined Warren Buffett and Bill Gates' 'The Giving Pledge', a select group of billionaires who have committed to give the majority of their wealth away. He described some of his motivation: "With this pledge, I want to help more kids realize the kind of journey I have had. I want to show them that their dreams are not bounded by what they can see in front of them. Their limits are not so limited. Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” I would like to help them dream.”

Recognition

In 2015, Chesky was recognized on the Forbes list of America's Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40. Chesky was recognized on TIME's 100 Most Influential People for 2015. In May 2015, President Obama named Chesky as an Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship. He was also named in the Youngest Forbes 400 list in 2016. In 2018, Chesky was named the Bay Area Executive of the Year by Business Times.

Airbnb has laid off 25% of its staff, nearly 1,900 people, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The vacation rental company, which had planned on going public sometime in 2020, is expected to bring in revenues of less than half the $4.8 billion it earned in 2019, CEO Brian Chesky said in a letter to employees on Tuesday announcing the layoffs.

"To those leaving Airbnb, I am truly sorry," Chesky wrote in the letter. "Please know this is not your fault."

Chesky, the 38-year-old cofounder and CEO of Airbnb, is worth an estimated $4.2 billion, according to Forbes.

Despite his wealth, the tech billionaire lives a relatively modest lifestyle. In 2016, Chesky (along with Airbnb's other two cofounders, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, and Blecharczyk's wife) pledged to give at least half his fortune to charity over the course of his lifetime.

Chesky previously said in interviews that he has rented out his own San Francisco apartment on Airbnb, does weekly yoga with his girlfriend (who he met on Tinder), and has attended the famously wild Burning Man arts event in the Nevada desert.

Chesky founded Airbnb in 2008 with his then-roommate, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk.

According to Airbnb's corporate website, the endeavor started off as a way for Chesky and Gebbia to pay their rent. In the fall of 2007, the roommates charged strangers $80 per night to sleep on an air mattress in their San Francisco apartment when local hotels were sold out for a design festival. The next spring, they officially launched their company, then named AirBed & Breakfast.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Airbnb was estimated to be worth about $38 billion, according to what a source close to the company told Vox in March 2019 and what Forbes estimated in March 2018.

The company has more than seven million listings in more than 100,000 cities worldwide and had planned to go public in 2020.

Now, Airbnb is being battered by the coronavirus crisis and is on track for revenues of less than half the $4.8 billion it reportedly earned in 2019, Chesky said in a recent letter to staff.

In 2016, Chesky signed the Giving Pledge promising to donate the majority of his fortune to charity over the course of his lifetime.

"With this pledge, I want to help more kids realize the kind of journey I have had," Chesky wrote in his pledge. "I want to show them that their dreams are not bounded by what they can see in front of them. Their limits are not so limited."

Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett launched the pledge in 2010, and it has since been signed by more than 200 people, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.


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