Airbnb has grown significantly over the last 3 years. To support demand, the company uses 200 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances for its application, memcache, and search servers. Within Amazon EC2, Airbnb is using Elastic Load Balancing, which automatically distributes incoming traffic between multiple Amazon EC2 instances. To easily process and analyze 50 Gigabytes of data daily, Airbnb uses Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR). Airbnb is also using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to house backups and static files, including 10 terabytes of user pictures. To monitor all of its server resources, Airbnb uses Amazon CloudWatch, which allows the company to easily supervise all of its Amazon EC2 assets through the AWS Management Console, Command Line Tools, or a Web services API.
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To help fund the site, the founders created special edition breakfast cereals, with presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain as the inspiration for "Obama O's" and "Cap'n McCains". In two months, 800 boxes of cereal were sold at $40 each, which generated more than $30,000 for the company's incubation. It also got the company noticed by computer programmer Paul Graham, who invited the founders to the January 2009 winter training session of his startup incubator, Y Combinator, which provided them with training and $20,000 in funding in exchange for a small interest in the company. With the website already built, they used the $20,000 Y-Combinator investment to fly to New York City to meet users and promote the site. They returned to San Francisco with a profitable business model to present to West Coast investors. By March 2009, the site had 10,000 users and 2,500 listings.