Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky has revealed that a 10% stake in the peer-to-peer lettings start-up was offered to seven different investors for just $150,000 in 2008 – but none of them took up the offer.
Today that stake would be worth $2.4 billion (£1.6 billion).
Chesky revealed five rejection messages in a blog post on Medium.com, saying: “Next time you have an idea and it gets rejected, I want you to think of these emails.”
Four of the five emails cite practical reasons for declining the offer of a stake in the firm.
One said it was “not an area we are currently investing” while another said “we’ve not been able to get excited about travel related businesses,” Sky News reported.
However, one said the “market opportunity” was too small.
The unnamed investor wrote: “We’ve had a chance to discuss internally, and unfortunately don’t think that it’s the right opportunity for (redacted) from an investment perspective.
“The potential market opportunity did not seem large enough for our required model.”
Two investors did not respond at all.
Airbnb was founded in San Francisco in August 2008 and allows people to rent out their spare rooms or apartments to vetted customers for short-term periods.
It is valued at an estimated $24 bllion and investors include actor Ashton Kutcher.