Airbnb Founder to Chamber: Supportive, Creative Culture Key to Start-up Growth
Joe Gebbia, co-founder and chief product officer of Airbnb, joined with Governor Gina Raimondo as the featured speakers at the 2017 Economic Outlook Luncheon hosted by the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce on June 5.
More than 500 attendees heard how Gebbia, a Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) graduate, created a global phenomenon of 100 million customers in under a decade and became one of the top business innovators in the world today. The featured conversation with Gebbia and Governor Raimondo was moderated by Chamber President Laurie White.
A creative entrepreneur from an early age, Gebbia’s groundbreaking “sharing economy” platform has spread to 65,000 cities in over 191 countries. The company is valued today at $31 billion and climbing. Gebbia has spoken globally about business innovation and has received numerous distinctions such as the Inc “30 under 30” and Fortune “40 under 40.”
Gebbia’s lifelong appreciation for art and design led him to RISD, where he earned dual degrees in Graphic Design and Industrial Design where he now serves on the Board of Trustees.
See all the event photos - Courtesy of Constance Brown Photography
Learn what Gebbia had to say about Rhode Island, entrepreneurship and design:
Providence Business News: Gebbia: RISD helped him grow Airbnb
“The culture of Rhode Island and the culture of Providence is one that’s ripe to attract companies like ours, and part of that is the talent pool,” he said. “A lot of cities don’t actually see the broader picture. Silicon Valley is actually an entire ecosystem. It’s not just one thing. In order for that to work you also have to have access to capital, media, culture and mentorship.”
NBC 10: Airbnb co-founder credits RISD for successful business philosophy
“We actually didn’t invent anything new. There’s nothing proprietary about what we do as a company. It was really translating what RISD teaches so well. It was being able to see two different things, and recombine them in a new and different way,” Gebbia said. “Anybody could have rented an airbed during the conference that weekend.”