Successful businesses often have unsuspecting and uncanny startings, but these million and billion dollar worth companies haven’t started at a magnitude level as one imagines. The top companies in the world, infact, started with humble beginnings and modest approaches (maybe that’s the key to their everlasting success and reputation). It is hard to believe that in the current technology field, an “unsuspecting” garage would serve as a starting base – but this holds true for the biggest names in the industry.
If you have been left astonished, don’t be. Just grab a book of Apple’s founder Steve Job’s biography or Google founder’s book “The Google Guys: Inside the Brilliant Minds of Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin” and you’ll get a realisation that this fact holds true.
But it’s not just tech companies like them which started in one-room garages. Even famous toy companies, motorcycle businesses, and other popular companies also come from humble beginnings. Let’s share with you some of the possibly most talked about garage-based startups, in terms of their early beginnings and now successful rise.
It was in the year 1994, that a soon-to-be billionaire named Jeff Bezos, started an online bookstore in his home garage in Bellevue (Washington). His company would sell its first book a year later under the URL “Amazon.com”. Within three years of his success, in 1997, Jeff took his little online bookstore public. And today, Amazon is the world’s largest E-Commerce company and Jeff is one of the richest men in the world! Good for him!
Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were only 21 and 26 years old when they launched their company in 1976. They started by building the first Apple Computer at Steve’s childhood home’s garage and hence its address (2066 Crist Dr. in Los Altos, California) became a famous one. It was from here, that “The Steves” and their small team hand-built 50 computers in 30 days and sold 50 units of Wozniak’s Apple I Computer at $500 apiece to a local retailer. Cut to 2018 – Apple is the most valuable technology company in the world now and could possibly become the first company with a market valuation of $1 trillion.
The greatest entertainment company in the world, Disney, didn’t start as a theme park or even a well-imagined glamorous Hollywood movie studio. The founder, Walt Disney, started his company 45 minutes down the road from his Disneyland Park in Anaheim (California). It was in a one-car garage owned by his uncle, Robert Disney. Walt and his brother Roy were so passionate about their startup, that they moved in with Robert to set up “The First Disney Studio” – which later became the largest grossing entertainment company in the world.
Before Google Maps existed, you would have found the company’s headquarters in a small garage owned by Susan Wojcicki at 232 Santa Margarita Ave in Menlo Park, California. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin attempted to sell their ‘side project’ to Excite for $1 million back then, but the rejection came as a blessing. Today, the most well-known and profitable company in the world is worth hundreds of billions of dollars! The founders have inspired many across the globe with their innovations and ideas, while also leaving their success quotes to ponder upon.
5. HARLEY DAVIDSON
Way back in 1901, 21-year-old William S. Harley drew up plans to create a small engine to power a bicycle. He was very creative for that time, but with his sheer determination, he realised a concrete plan with his childhood friend Arthur Davidson. Together, they created their first motorcycle at an undisclosed garage in Milwaukee in a friend’s 10 by 15 foot wooden shed. The duo officially founded Harley-Davidson in 1903 and today, most bike lovers know what owning a Harley Davidson means.
Did you know that the initials in HP stand for their founder’s names? H in HP stands for Hewlett and P stands for Packard. In 1939, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP in the latter’s garage. The duo had $538 to spend and they made into an investment worth billions of dollars. The garage became the most talked about address in Silicon Valley (in Palo Alto, California). Their first product was purchased by Walt Disney!
7. LOTUS CARS
Probably one of the most respected racing car manufacturers in the world, Lotus cars started in 1948, when 20-year-old Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman started the company. The starting base of this giant car manufacturing company was at 472 Hornsey Rd. in London. Chapman used a 1930s Austin Seven and a power drill to build the Lotus Mark I. Today, the entire car racing world exists because of Lotus Cars.
The greatest software company of the world, Microsoft, was built in 1975 by a young Bill Gates and Paul Allen. They had just a few resources and some garage space. Unlike their rival Apple, who were supreme leaders in both software and hardware, Microsoft focused primarily on the software market only. One of the most famous quotes by its founder Bill Gates is:
9. YANKEE CANDLE COMPANY
Michael Kittredge was only 16-years-old in 1969, when he started the greatest candle company in the world – Yankee Candle Company. This candle guru began creating his magical scented candles in his garage using melted crayons. After appreciation from his neighbors who absolutely loved his candles, he began a full-time company selling them. In 1973, Michael moved Yankee Candle Company to an old mill in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Today, it even has a village of its own!
The American multinational toy manufacturing company was founded in 1945 by Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler. With headquarters in Southern California, in El Segundo, Mattel was founded in an undisclosed location. Its creators were so broke that they started using picture frame scrapes to create dollhouses. They succeeded soon and turned into one of the world’s largest toy companies (behind only LEGO as of 2014).
We just got inspired by these startups and their humble beginnings. Aren’t you?!