Just when all hope seems lost, Airbnb seeks admission to Y Combinator, the highly selective Silicon Valley accelerator that provides seed funding and coaching for startups. It is Chesky’s last-ditch effort, but in another all-is-lost moment, Chesky misses the deadline to apply. The tension rises. “If we didn’t get in, we would not exist,” Chesky’s co-founder Joe Gebbia says in his presentations. But at the last minute, they manage to apply late and are invited to interview. The tension rises again.
Y Combinator founder Paul Graham is initially skeptical. “People actually do this?” he asks the founders. “I wouldn’t want to stay on anyone else’s sofa.” The tension breaks when Graham decides to jump on board. He figures that anyone who could convince people to pay $40 for a $2 box of cereal is worth taking a chance on.