Thanks to Chesky, 31, a whole generation thinks differently about booking accommodations. Airbnb, started when Chesky and co-founder Joe Gebbia rented out air mattresses in their apartment, has helped more than 4 million travelers find lodging. Chesky certainly doesn't have the same pedigree as other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The former artist, designer, and bodybuilder (yes, bodybuilder) never attended business school, and he didn't know what an angel investor was. To enhance his business chops, Chesky, along with Gebbia and third co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, participated in part of Y Combinator's competitive startup class, a three-month program aimed at accelerating young startups with seed money, exposure to contacts, and expert advice. Today the young CEO regularly stays with Airbnb hosts, though with a company valuation of more than $2 billion, he probably isn't sleeping on any air mattresses.
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