One of the best pieces of advice the founders of Airbnb ever received was that it’s better to have 100 people love you than 1 million who kind of like you. So instead of focusing on growing quickly, we’re focused on building a product that our hosts and guests love. If they love it, they’ll tell other people about it, and it will grow from there.
This was just one of the learnings I had the opportunity to share as a guest speaker at Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s “Start-Up India” event in Delhi. This conference is one of Modi’s signature government initiatives, bringing together more than 2,000 people from all over the world, to share best practices and discuss the challenges facing startups today and what we can do to help this community grow and thrive.
It’s easy to forget that only eight short years ago, Airbnb was nothing more than an idea. And having the humble roots of a startup ourselves, I was honoured to meet and share with Indian entrepreneurs about what we’ve learned along our own journey, as well as what we have learned about how to better serve our Indian community.
By 2020, the market for travel from India is poised to pass the $40 billion mark. Increasingly, much of that business is being conducted on Airbnb, where our outbound travel has grown by over 185% in the last year alone. That very early advice of putting our community first is at the heart of how we work to deliver on our mission everyday – to create a world where you can belong anywhere.
We’ve now had over 65 million people stay on Airbnb, and have nearly 2 million listings in 34,000 cities around the world. What starts as a simple idea can completely change the way people think about hospitality and travel, so my question to India’s startup community is what is your big idea?
This is a historic opportunity for India and we want to commend the Indian Government on their efforts to encourage and enable startups. Unleashing the creativity of all Indians will fuel India’s growth, and with this community projected to surpass 11,000 in the next four years, I’m sure this is only the beginning of a wave of made-in-India innovation.
All of us at Airbnb are excited to have the opportunity to be a small part of this incredible journey, we appreciate the warm welcome we have already received by India, and we will have more exciting announcements about Airbnb India in the months ahead.