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With the modern technology, being the owner of a business that shakes business giants is possible like never before. This article will feature the stories of Airbnb and Uber, two businesses that started from being startups with only a handful of people and money. But their ability to employ technology enables them to create businesses that turn a new page to the world of servicing business.
Airbnb: a new dimension of accommodation
In 2007, their experience of not having money to pay for a night stay in San Francisco sparked the business idea for Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, to change their room into a hotel with services of air bed and breakfast. When they found that someone actually used the service, they began to take this business idea more seriously and named it “Airbed & Breakfast”. With Blecharczyk, their ex-coworker, the founders developed a website for interested people to advertise their space for guests to stay.
Paul Gram from an investment firm Y-Combinator liked this innovative business model, and so he invested 20,000 dollars for the founders. However, the business did not work well with only 200 dollars per week. The three innovators found that the root cause of failure: the pictures that the space owners advertise on the website were not attractive enough. So they went to those places to retake the pictures to put on the website. In addition, they also applied other strategies such as renaming the website from Airbed & Breakfast to Airbnb.com to make it catchier. The website charges 3% from the house owner and has more types of renting spaces ranging from a sofa in a living room to a whole castle!
The result was impressive. Travelers from around the world used the service. The website gained many waves of funds from investors, making it sufficient to expand the business. As of today, Airbnb is valued 1.3 million dollars, and has become the top favorite website for reserving accommodation among tourists because they can choose to stay where their monetary limitation is met, e.g. renting only one room or the whole apartment. More than that, guests can also learn local way of life with the property owner while more people welcome guests to stay at their homes because they earn special income and have a chance to meet new people.
Uber: a revolution to public transportation
Inefficiency of taxi service in San Francisco motivated Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick to visualize the business of quality transport. That is the beginning when the two founders started working with Ryan Graves and found a startup called Uber in 2009. Uber commenced the service for the first time in New York City in 2010 without owning any cab at all, but provided the service using the application developed to connect car owners who are willing to give people a ride and those who need one. Besides, Uber also focuses on providing a better service than ordinary taxis to passengers. It offers facilities such as drinking water in the cab or paying by a credit card instead of cash.
The result was stunning. Uber gained more popularity and expanded the service in many states, including cities in Europe and Asia. Today, Uber has its business operation in 126 cities in 36 countries worldwide, and has become a top choice of transport like never before. With its continuously develop technology to connect the service providers and receivers, Uber does not have to depend merely on giving a ride to passengers, but also offers many other services such as UberRUSH, which is a parcel shipment by motorcycles in New York City. It is the door to an endless business opportunity. Today Uber is valued 1.5 million dollars and earns twice every 6 months.
The case studies of Airbnb and Uber, the giants that started from being startups and have become multimillion dollar businesses, prove that modern technology plays an important role in turning a new page of business. Modern day’s businesses are not limited only to those with millions of savings, but they are available also to those with new ideas that satisfy the needs of people, and those who can keep pace with their ideas before somebody else, by wisely making use of the many technologies that we all have access to out there.
Photo by Pujohn Das/ Space10
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