Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Socializing Vacation Rentals: The AirBnB Guys Speak!

A few weeks ago, BoomTown sat down in a hipster coffee place in a hipster section of San Francisco to talk to the hipster trio of founders of AirBnB.

Which, if you think about it, is a very hipster name for what is essentially the ability to rent out your apartment, home or wack-a-doo space (such as a shoe-shaped hotel or Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs estate).

AirBnB is an alternative to other fast-growing similar sites such as VRBO–Vacation Rentals By Owner, only with more style and niche cool.

But the former Y Combinator start-up is not without its more traditional aspects, such as a recent $7.2 million Series A funding from Greylock Partners.

Also on board, its initial Silicon Valley venture investor, Sequoia Capital, which forked over $600,000 in seed financing last year.

That came after AirBnB’s first foray for travelers to find inexpensive lodging–often no more than just a room for events, such as the U.S. Presidential conventions–turned into a wider and more pricey range of offerings, with 700,000 nights booked so far in 166 countries and 8,000 cities.

AirBnB also includes–of course–reputation and social networking elements–as well as a very slick mobile app with unusually lovely photos–and also easy booking logistics.

And, because it is also very hip to do so these days, there is a Groupon-like daily deal too. But of course there is!

It’s actually all very well done, an interesting way to find cool places to stay beyond the usual.

Here are its founders–Joe Gebbia, Nate Blecharczyk, and Brian Chesky–talking about it all in a video interview, as well as a slideshow of its Top 40 collection of its more unusual properties to rent, such as a plane stuck in a tree in Costa Rica:

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”