Varsha Rao in the News

Celebrating Indian Startups

Start-Up India is an event that brings together thousands of people from around the world to share best practice and challenges in business. As a guest speaker at this Delhi conference, Varsha Rao shared some of the learnings she gained over the course of her career with the audience, and later wrote about them on Airbnb's blog. One of her insights was that it is better to have 100 people love you than 1,000,000 people like you – meaning that rather than focusing on rapid growth she concentrates on building a product that people can really relate to. Eight years ago, Airbnb was only an idea, and now more than 65 million people use its services. As the company's Head of Global Operations, Rao feels this proves that a simple concept people love can have a huge impact on an industry. The Indian government is commended for its efforts to encourage startups and fuel growth in India, and Airbnb looks forward to bringing exciting announcements about its presence in India in the near future.

Varsha Rao Speaks at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women's Conference

Fortune magazine covers Varsha Rao's personal appearance at its 2014 Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference, where she spoke about the importance of diversity. To Rao, Head of Global Operations at Airbnb, the biggest mistake the company made last year was not having enough diversity in its leadership team. Addressing an audience of 250 female thought leaders, she said that soon after she started working at Airbnb, she realized that it was not considering expansion to Asia. The company did not have enough knowledge to approach the market there, which changed when Varsha joined its leadership team. After spending years living in Asia, Varsha Rao developed a deep understanding of the market and its potential. She believes that having a diverse range of experiences is important to business.

Airbnb is Going Places Fast

Marie Claire magazine reports that there is no other travel company that is causing as much buzz around the world as Airbnb, and writes a special article featuring Varsha Rao's role in the company. Airbnb was launched in 2008 when two graduates wanted to generate extra income by renting out a room and an air mattress, which is where the name of the company came from. The concept grew and eventually became a $10 billion business enterprise and a keystone of the sharing economy. Airbnb has even made the fashion pages, with jet-setting fashionistas posting photos of its offered spaces on Instagram.

Making Valuable Connections with Facebook

The fastest growing demographic group on Facebook is people over 30, and in her Huffington Post article Varsha Rao explores the journey of connecting on this social media platform. In particular, she contemplates how these men and women have time to manage both their lives and their online presence. After reducing television time, Rao was able to spend more time on social media, make connections, and learn what friends and family are up to around the world. Although she is still not a radical Facebook devotee, she shares that she finds it interesting that this medium helps her to connect, despite her busy lifestyle.

Varsha Rao’s Latest Entrepreneurial Venture

Bloomberg reports on Varsha Rao’s venture Zoelle, a jewelry design and retail company. Her first try at the online retail market was Eve.com, which sells cosmetics and is one of the top companies online. After three years of operating, the company made $10 million in annual sales and had 110 employees. Despite cosmetic industry executives claiming that women would not buy cosmetic products online, Eve.com had 250 brands signed up to be sold on its website. Zoelle, on the other hand, only sells original pieces and aims to be like Tiffany, but younger and trendier because it appeals to women directly, instead of men who buy jewelry for women. In the article, Rao shares that she feels the self-funded company is already profitable because it is offering something nobody else can match.