Friday 15 December 2017

€7bn B&B firm creating 100 new Irish jobs after a chat with Bono

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD, with Brian Chesky, co founder and chief executive of Airbnb
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD, with Brian Chesky, co founder and chief executive of Airbnb

Brian Byrne

IT'S the world's largest bed and breakfast company worth €7.3bn – but Airbnb doesn't own a single property.

The company expanded its new offices in Ireland this week and said it originally chose to base itself here because of our hospitality.

Chief executive of the US-based e-commerce site Brian Chesky also revealed that U2 frontman Bono played a part in his decision to increase the size of his Dublin branch.

The singer met Mr Chesky during an IDA Ireland event in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year, and described the company's move to the Dublin docklands as "very good news".

"We of course measure the recovery by jobs, that's all that matters – that our best and brightest do not have to leave to get work," said Bono.

"Brian and Airbnb are a force to be reckoned with, and tech companies like these are training grounds for a smart and savvy workforce like ours."

Mr Chesky said Ireland's low corporate tax rate "wasn't one of the first two or three considerations" and pointed instead to this country's hospitality and workforce.

The site will now create 100 new jobs in Dublin, doubling the size of the company's so-called Hospitality Innovation Lab in Ringsend.

The lab will develop an educational internet service for Airbnb customers who want to rent out rooms to Airbnb users. "We came to Dublin because it has hospitality in its DNA and I've been so inspired by the culture we've already created in our office here. We have an amazing home in Dublin from which we're supporting our community across Europe and I can't wait to welcome another 100 people to join us," Mr Chesky said.

Six-year-old Airbnb has an interesting history. Mr Chesky and fellow co-founder Joe Gebbia came up with the idea in 2007 when they were struggling to pay their rent. The friends knew that all the hotels in their home city of San Francisco were full so they came up with the idea of renting out three airbeds on their living-room floor and cooking their guests breakfast.


They created which brought a 30-year-old Indian man, a 35-year-old woman from Boston and a 45-year-old father of four from Utah to their flat. The idea worked so well, they enlisted Gebbia's former flatmate, Nathan Blecharczyk, to create a proper website.

The idea took off in the summer of 2008 when President Barack Obama was speaking in Denver at the Democratic National Convention. The website was finished a fortnight before the conference and got 800 listings.

Now the company has more than 500,000 listings in 33,000 cities.

Irish Independent

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