Airbnb is considered to be at the forefront of vacation homes and short-term rentals for travelers all over the world. But for travelers of color, renters often face discrimination from homeowners letting out their homes.
Stefan Grant, the founder and CEO of Noirbnb, says he was inspired to start Noirbnb in 2016 due to discrimination he and others faced while using Airbnb.
“Noirbnb was started because I personally experienced racism and discrimination while using the Airbnb platform,” Grant explains. “While Airbnb has an incredible business model, they weren’t prioritizing the safety and dignity of all of their users. Primarily Black users, on the guest and host side. My mission was to create a community where Black travelers, hosts, and people of all walks of life can feel comfortable traveling and seeing the world.”
The African American tourism industry is valued at over $50 billion but historically, Black travelers have and continue to be undervalued and mistreated. Grant wants to change the landscape and redirect Black dollars into Black business and into the hands of Black homeowners.
Noirbnb is flourishing, but Grant says that the company’s number one challenge is raising capital to expand.
“I’d say our biggest challenge currently is raising capital. As we focus on product development and increasing our product market fit, it’s increasingly difficult to focus on fundraising.”
Though business is not without its challenges, Grant, who lives in South Florida with his wife, knows exactly what to do when he’s lacking in motivation.
“I visit Jamaica,” he says. “Every time I’m back home in Jamaica I’m reminded of what’s real. What’s really real, and important in life. God. Family. Health. Strength. Love. Nature. Life. I also try to employ daily meditation for 5-10 minutes in the morning.”