Airbnb

About the Company

  • Founded in 2008, based in San Francisco
  • Industry: Hospitality
  • Total funding: over $4.4b from TCV, Andreesen, Sequoia, Greylock and others

Airbnb is an online community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book accommodations around the world.

Challenge

In 2011, Airbnb was looking to expand into the European market and establish local operations. However, it faced competition from two copycats based in Germany: Wimdu and 9flats. Wimdu was expanding quickly, hiring over 300 people across Europe and opening nine offices.

In June 2011, Airbnb acquired Hamburg-based Accoleo, an online accommodation marketplace that was co-founded by Georg Bauser—one of Expansion Partner’s founders—in 2010. Shortly thereafter, Airbnb contracted with a Berlin-based internationalization consultancy where Christopher Cederskog, Expansion Partner’s other founder, was a Managing Director.

Approach

In its early stages of European expansion, Airbnb focused on supply acquisition, community, and demand marketing in the German market. Christopher and Georg led the strategic planning for European expansion.

In 2011 the team ran a pilot program out of the company’s Berlin office to test sales and account management in five key markets: Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, and France. Based on the results of the pilot project, Christopher and Georg went on to manage the launch of eight European offices and hire over 75 employees, between December 2011 and February 2012.

In 2013 Airbnb was operating without a dedicated HQ in Europe. As the company needed to consolidate European operations, Georg established Airbnb’s EU HQ in Dublin within a year. Meanwhile, Christopher assumed the role of General Manager for Central Europe. Both Christopher and Georg worked with Airbnb for over four years.

Result

Airbnb understood the huge potential for growth that Europe could provide them and committed to seeing their vision through. Today Airbnb is the global leader in hospitality and Europe is its biggest market.