I am so happy Brian Chesky shared these rejection emails from Airbnb's early days. I am constantly reminded how most every successful startup began small and faced various types of rejection early on. Most YC startups tell us that fundraising is harder than they anticipated, even though we do a lot to prepare them for it. New startups: please remember how many times you can get turned down by investors before you finally wind up getting funded.
I came up with 7 points that these rejections remind me of:
1) Fundraising is hard. You don't realize how hard until you try it.
2) Even the most successful startups often had troubles fundraising when they first got started.
3) New ideas often seem crazy at first (e.g. renting out an airbed in your apartment to a stranger).
4) When investors aren't sure what to make of these ideas, they write them off as inconsequential. Don't be misled by this into thinking your idea actually is inconsequential.
5) Believe the no and not the why when investors turn you down.
6) All investors make the mistake of overlooking good ideas. I have myself.
7) Keep going! Brian, Joe and Nate are one of the best examples of determined founders. They kept going in the face of so much rejection (more than just these 7 emails) because they knew, as the first Airbnb hosts, that their idea was good.