Airbnb- A Disruptive Innovator

Airbnb- A Disruptive Innovator
Case Code: ITSY089
Case Length: 21 Pages
Period: 2008-2015
Pub Date: 2016
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization: Airbnb
Industry: Travel
Countries: US, Global
Themes: innovation, Sharing Economy, Startup
Airbnb- A Disruptive Innovator
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


The case is about a San Francisco-based home-sharing website, Airbnb, which served as a platform for people to rent out their underutilized spaces. The idea for Airbnb, or Airbed and breakfast, was born in 2007, when some delegates to a conference held in San Francisco, found all the hotels booked and no accommodation available. Two friends, Brian Chesky (industrial designer) and Joe Gebbia (also a designer) decided to rent out extra space in their apartment to some of these delegates. In the process, they made more than US$ 1,000.

This gave them the idea of taking the business forward and AirBed and Breakfast Inc. was incorporated in 2008. They were then joined by Nathan Blecharczyk, a technical architect...


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Understand the emergence of innovative business models.
  • Study how innovative business models help companies grow and gain competitive advantage.
  • Study how innovation drives economic competitiveness.
  • Understand various concepts like disruptive innovation, sharing economy, and collaborative consumption.
  • Identify the role of entrepreneurs in any industry and the challenges they face while establishing a startup.
  • Understand how Airbnb’s innovative business model helped it become one of the largest hoteliers in the world, without owning any assets.



Disruptive innovation, collaborative consumption, Airbnb, sharing economy, startup, service innovation, disruption, business models, marketplace platform model

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