Airbed and Breakfast is now Airbnb—a household name that has surpassed industry legacy Hilton Hotels in nights booked. The company has received $776.4M from investors like Y Combinator, Sequoia Capital, Keith Rabois, Andreessen Horowitz, Ashton Kutcher, Founders Fund, and TPG Growth in a total of seven funding rounds—the last of which raised $500M alone.
Not everyone was as impressed with Airbnb’s business model, however, and the young startup was also notoriously rejected by Fred Wilson and Union Square Ventures—a decision Wilson now admits wasn’t a good one. Wilson claimed in 2011 that Union Square kept a box of Obama O’s in their conference room to remind themselves not to make the same mistake again. It also serves as an example of an early stage startup doing everything necessary to get off the ground. As Wilson explains:
“Whenever someone tells me that they can’t figure out how to raise the first $25,000 they need to get their company started I stand up, walk over to the cereal box, and tell this story. It is a story of pure unadulterated hustle. And I love it.”