The role of perseverance in startup success: The story of Airbnb

10 Minute Read


Launching a successful start-up is not a walk in the park. In the beginning, there are going to be numerous challenges and mounting pressures which can lead one to doubt their business model. But even during tough times, some entrepreneurs have adopted the art of perseverance and successfully sailed their companies to a safe and prosperous shore.

The uphill battle of Airbnb's start

In their early days, the founders of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk faced an uphill battle to establish their unique rental concept. The team was often met with scepticism and many obstacles. Rather than focusing on the numerous rejections and increasing debts, they sought investor advice, hired experienced team members, and persistently worked on improving their initially flawed product.

Chesky and Gebbia started Airbnb from their living room; theirs was a solution to pay rent, but no one was buying into their idea - including investors. There were times when they survived on cereal. They even went so far as to package their cereal boxes as ‘limited edition election-themed cereals’ called 'Obama O's' and 'Cap'n McCain's which they sold at democratic national convention.

‘Next time you have an idea and it gets rejected, I want you to think about this story of Airbnb.' - Brian Chesky

Perseverance: The pillar for Startups

With every bump on the road, the founders never gave up. Instead, they carried on with more vigour and faith that their idea would a hit. Despite their bleak situation, they were able to attract their first investor. From there, the company started soaring to greater heights, hosting over half a million stays in its first 5 years.

Over the years, Airbnb persevered in their idea of redefining travel and proved all naysayers wrong. Today, it has transformed the global travel accommodation sector, demonstrated the power of the sharing economy, and forced hotels to rethink their strategies. They turned an unlikely idea into a multi-billion-dollar global industry disruptor.

‘The press called us a totally crazy idea. Airbnb used to stand for 'AirBed & Breakfast'. Now it stands for something greater - Belong Anywhere.' - Joe Gebbia

The takeaway

The success story of Airbnb teaches us that perseverance is as necessary as having a good idea for a startup. Setbacks are a part of every entrepreneurial journey, and everyone hits road bumps. But how one reacts to those critical situations determines the ultimate success of their endeavour.

We hope Airbnb's story encourages you, especially if you're in the phase of your start-up where you're facing rejection, hearing 'NO's', and trying to swim against the tide. Remember, with unrelenting perseverance and the right strategy, you will ride the wave to ultimate success.

'The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.' - Thomas Paine

Adam Arbolino
Adam Arbolino

Mixo Co-founder

AI aficionado, growth hacking hotshot, and startup savant turning 'aha' moments in the bath into growth ideas for startups.

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