It has changed the way people look at travel and their own homes. Now Airbnb has just been named company of the year by Inc. magazine.
The online marketplace, which connects homeowners looking to rent rooms to travelers looking for a place to stay, is part of the "sharing economy."
With 2014 clearly being the year of the sharing economy, "it had to be a sharing economy company, and to us, Airbnb is the most audacious of the lot," Inc.'s Editor-in-Chief Eric Schurenberg said in an interview with CNBC's "Squawk Alley."
The San Francisco-based company, valued at $13 billion and No. 41 on the 2014 CNBC Disruptor 50 List, was founded in 2008. It now boasts 25 million users and connections in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries.
"Think back seven years ago when Airbnb was just a glimmer in the eyes of its founder. Imagine that someone told you then that 20 million people would show up at the homes of strangers … and that those strangers would be willing to turn over the keys to their home to some stranger from the Internet. You would have thought it was crazy," Schurenberg said.
"Yet that is the business proposition that Airbnb has prospered on, and it's made an awful lot of people happy. It's made a lot of people's lives better."
The start-up is not without its share of issues. It faces legal hurdles in some states. It has also met opposition from more traditional competitors, like hotels and tenant-rights groups that fear it will impact the availability of affordable housing.
"What happens a lot when a company is this transformative is that it inevitably bumps up against the incumbents, and the incumbents either …. buy it out or they accommodate it. And that, I think, is what's going to happen here," Schurenberg said.