Airbnb's First Employees

Founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, designers by trade, brought on their third co-founder, Nathan Blecharczyk, to help them build Airbnb's first prototype. They didn’t feel a pressing need to hire anyone, and were very cautious in their selection. After five months of searching for their first hire, they finally found Nick Grandy, who helped Nate with engineering. Their hiring rate exploded, quickly building out the first couple of hundred employees and scaling globally. Below are some of their key first employees.

The team is young, which is normal for startups, but have some experience: either a master’s degree or at least two years working in the relevant industry. They also built a diverse team, with hires from a variety of backgrounds, genders, and races, and covering a broad range of roles.

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Nick Grandy
Employee #1, Engineer
M.Sc. in Computer Science, Oxford '07. Founded his own company called Wundrbar (YC W08), which shut down after a year, but he soon met the three Airbnb founders at a YC event.
Joe Zadeh
Software Engineer into Product Lead
Ph.D. in Bioengineering, Caltech '09. Joined Airbnb in May 2010 as a software engineer when he saw the listing on Hackernews and loved the product. Eventually became Product Lead. AKA "Joebot."
Ligaya Tichy
Community Manager
B.A. in Anthropology, Tufts '04. Senior Manager for Marketing and Community at Yelp. Joined Airbnb in Aug. 2010 as Community Manager and was Global Head of Offline Marketing and Community.
Michael Schaecher
Marketing Associate (employee #17, #2 Marketing hire)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln '07. Marketed for New Digital Group and RockDex. Worked as a freelance internet strategy consultant before joining the Airbnb Marketing team in Aug. 2010.
Jabu Dayton
Customer Service then HR Manager
Evergreen State College '93. Worked in HR at Nordstrom for 12 years. Was a Manager at Grantmakers in the Arts and owned a shop called Dolce Dogs. She joined Airbnb in Mar. 2011 in Customer Service.
Ian Logan
Director of Engineering
B.A. in Mathematics, University of Waterloo. Three years of experience as a software engineer at Morgan Stanley, Barclays, and BlackRock. Joined the Airbnb team in May 2011 as a software engineer.
Molly Turner
Public Policy
B.A. in Art History and Italian, Dartmouth. M.S. in Urban Planning, Harvard School of Design. Worked for UNESCO World Heritage Center before joining Airbnb as Director of Public Policy in Sept. 2011.