Joseph “Joe” Gebbia Jr. (born August 21, 1981) is an American designer and Internet entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Airbnb. In 2009, Gebbia was listed in BusinessWeek’s Top 20 Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he was named in Inc. Magazine’s Thirty under Thirty, and 2013, he was named in Fortune Magazine’s Forty-under-Forty.
Joe Gebbia was born August 21, 1981 in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Eileen and Joe Gebbia. He has one sister, Kimberly. He graduated in 2005 from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design and Industrial Design. It was at RISD that he met Brian Chesky, who would later become his roommate and co-founder of Airbnb. While studying in the Northeast, Gebbia complemented his creative pursuits and studies at RISD with business coursework at Brown University and MIT.
After graduating from RISD, Gebbia got a job at Chronicle Books in San Francisco, while Chesky moved to Los Angeles. Gebbia convinced Chesky to move to San Francisco in 2007 to start a business together. When they both quit their jobs, their landlord raised their rent and so they were in need of money. Knowing the Industrial Design Society of America conference was coming to San Francisco and many hotels were booked. Gebbia believed they could rent out airbeds in their apartment to conference goers. They marketed this idea by creating a website called “AirBed & Breakfast.” This was the foundation of Airbnb. Another of Gebbia’s roommates, Harvard graduate and technical architect Nathan Blecharczyk, became the third co-founder on February 2008.
After failing to get the funding for the new company, the team designed cereal boxes, “Obama O’s” and “Cap’n McCains,” based on the 2008 presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain and sold them at the conventions. When Gebbia shared their work with Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator, he was impressed with the tenacity involved in the endeavor, admitting them to the program as a result. He gave them their first round of seed funding in 2009.
On June 1, 2016, Gebbia joined Warren Buffett and Bill Gates’ ‘The Giving Pledge’, a select group of billionaires who have committed to give the majority of their wealth away.