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[flagged] 28-year-old turned his college side hustle into a $1.3B startup (news.google.com)
27 points by prostoalex 16 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 17 comments



Wow, this is some serious narrative invention.

They struggled with their business for a long time, time to rent out student flats for the summer.

They eventually pivoted for a while and took on money to be the 'corporate' AirBnB, i.e. pro managed residences, with th e promise to investors of lower operating costs than the Marriott etc..

However, it remains to be seen if there is any reality to this.

The Uber strategy of 'run at a loss until you take over the world' has some merit, because there are critical mass and market dominance aspects.

But with hotels, not really, there are always substitutes, one player is tiny in the grand scheme.

So either it can operate more efficienty and book the rooms or not.

But in the meantime, it's not hard to actually generate revenue by leasing and renting out properties, however well or poorly you do it - which makes it look like something big 'on paper' if you don't look at all the fine print!

You can 'show growth' by just operating and write off the losses by pointing to 'market dominance strategy'.

This story will play out on their ability to turn it into something efficient or not.


Original link is here, not sure why the submission links a Google redirect: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/20/how-francis-davidson-started...

As someone looking for alternatives to AirBnB, I welcome Sonder as competition. Although I'm not happy that they advertise "40% off 14+ nights" but only honor that in select cities (example: Miami is only 30%)


The google news link is obviously just a slight on Australians ;)


Personal preference: I really hate the term "side hustle". Cringe.


I'm surprised it's worth so much given that it would be trivial for Airbnb to add this functionality within its own website. It does make me wonder though - has there ever been a company that's built on top of another that was or is worth more than the company it's building its stuff on top of?


These businesses are not 'web sites'. They are operating entities. The 'web site' is the front end as it is for many other companies, it just so happens tech is a more important factor.

What they are doing is actually directly operating a ton of rooms, you have to do that in order to get to a certain standard.

They are actually closer to a hotel operator than to AirBnB.


> It does make me wonder though - has there ever been a company that's built on top of another that was or is worth more than the company it's building its stuff on top of?

How about AirBnB building on top of Craigslist?

https://growthhackers.com/growth-studies/airbnb


A bunch of billion dollar companies are basically a specialized subset of Craigslist.


There's a difference between creating a niche craigslist, and breaking craiglist's TOS to steal their data and users.


Microsoft/IBM?


i don't normally log in, or comment, on hackernews--and i normally don't ever comment negatively on things i see on the internet--but how is this news?

i am sick of seeing people fawn over people striving, and succeeding, at being capitalists.


It's CNBC, if you don't want to read this kind of garbage - and I agree with you, it's junk - don't read it. Pick your sources.

A better question might be why is it on HN? TBH, I'm actually more surprised that this is a billion dollar business, as far as I can tell, built on top of AirBnB. Why this one business over all the other companies that are managing multiple units on AirBnB?


Then why are you on the discussion board of a startup accelerator?


If you have a couple hours to spare, pull up the home page of foxnews.com or cnn.com and try to find the first article that isn't 1) broad national/global news (news covered by 100 other major outlets with the same facts that don't originate from the site), 2) submarine or bald-faced marketing(including viewpoint marketing), or 3) fluff human interest anecdotes(Jeanne Moos I'm looking at you).


But that's why I don't go to those sites, and come to HN instead.

Just like I don't look for something to eat in a latrine.


If you’re not a fan of capitalism you may want to find another website for your news rather than one started by a VC firm!


He became a landlord for Airbnb's. Good for him.




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