Airbnb’s Brian Chesky And Sequoia’s Alfred Lin On The Importance Of Culture And Core Values To A Business

Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky and Sequoia Capital partner, Airbnb board member, and former Zappos COO Alfred Lin joined us in the TechCrunch TV studio for a special three-part series on how Chesky and Lin work together on retaining culture, expanding internationally, and maintaining customer service. In this episode, we focus on how Lin and Chesky first met, and what Chesky has learned from the Zappos model in creating a culture at Airbnb.

Founded by Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, Y Combinator-incubated Airbnb was founded in 2008 as a marketplace to find a sofa to crash on or a room to rent for a short time. In fact, Sequoia led Airbnb’s seed round back in 2009.

Flash forward five years, and the company has evolved into an international giant in the apartment and home rentals space, reportedly valued at $2.5 billion during its last funding round. To date, Airbnb has helped service over 8.5 million guests, and has more than 500,000 listings in 33,000 cities and 192 countries.

As he explains in the video above, Chesky was obsessed with Airbnb’s culture from the beginning. Shortly after the startup raised funding in 2009 from Sequoia, the founders flew to Zappos to understand how they could apply some of the learnings from the e-commerce company to Airbnb’s own internal operations. One of the things that Lin helped Chesky and the team develop were the core values of Airbnb, and how to extend the culture of a business to the recruitment and hiring process.

Check out the video to hear what Airbnb’s six core values are, and stay tuned for the second video in this series, which addresses the company’s international expansion, how Chesky is approaching the challenges involved with growing globally (with the help of Lin) and more.