Our minds naturally turn to huge office spaces and rich founders when we think of the biggest companies on the planet. Yet, we fail to realize that these companies were not always so large or their founders so rich. Everybody starts somewhere. Many of the world’s biggest companies were born in humble beginnings, as you’d be surprised to learn.
Millionaires of today were actually common, ordinary people. In comparison to the rest, they were highly motivated to build something major. They weren’t afraid to start small. These are some of the most well-known companies in the world that were formed in garages.
It began as a garage business founded by Jeff Bezos.
Amazon began as a publishing company. Bezos launched Amazon from the garage of his home in Bellevue, Washington, in 1994.
Even though it took Amazon almost an entire year to sell their first book, the company soon grew exponentially and is now one of the biggest companies in the world, valued at almost $300 billion.
In coding their first OS, the founders did not need a lot of office space.
Another tech giant with a modest beginning. Paul Allen and Bill Gates started Microsoft in a small garage with very few resources. Programming skills, on the other hand, were in high demand, so they developed their first operating system and licensed it for $80,000.
The next few years saw the birth of Windows, and we all know how well that turned out. In the process, Microsoft has made Bill Gates the richest man on Earth, since it has dominated the PC market for more than two decades with over $400 billion in assets.
Walt Disney’s uncle’s garage was Disney’s first film studio.
Walt Disney has come from humble origins to be the media giant it is today. Their uncle’s garage in Los Angeles in 1923 was the place where Walt Disney, his brother Roy and their mother first filmed Alice Comedies, part of Alice’s Wonderland.
In just the last decade, their company has grown to be the world’s largest multimedia conglomerate, worth more than $150 billion.
It was founded in Steve Jobs’ parents’ garage.
Apple was founded by Steve Wozniak in 1976 when he designed the first Apple I computer for $500. Apple’s founders prepared 50 computers within 30 days after a local retailer requested 50 computers. Steve Jobs’ parents’ Cupertino, California garage was where it was done.
Infinite Loop is Apple’s chic office building in Cupertino. The company is worth $550 billion and is a world leader in technology.
Google was started in the garage of current YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.
Google was founded in September 1998 in the garage of current YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, perhaps the most famous company to start in a garage. From being just another Stanford college project to becoming the largest internet company today, Google was just a college project.
Brin and Page offered $1 million for Excite, but Excite rejected the offer. Google is now worth $500 billion, so they’re surely regretting their decision.
6. Harley Davidson
The world’s first Harley was built in a wooden shed.
William Harley was always fascinated with motorcycle design. As a 20-year-old, he had designed an engine that powered a bicycle. A wooden shed at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, became the workshop where Arthur Davidson and he constructed their motorcycle for the next two years.
Founded in 1903, Harley-Davidson is now worth more than $10 billion, and is synonymous with luxury motorbikes.
Additionally, HP began its journey in a garage with some help from Walt Disney.
Hewlett-Packard was founded in 1938 in Packard’s garage in Palo Alto, California, by Will Hewlett and Dave Packard. An audio oscillator they developed was ordered by Walt Disney for its motion picture Fantasia, which might explain why they are on this list. Disney bought eight oscillators in total.
It is worth about $13 billion now, but it only invested $538 in the beginning.
At the beginning, Mattel was mainly focused on picture frames.
When Mattel was founded in 1945, its most famous product was the Barbie doll. Harold Matson, Elliot Handler and Ruth Handler began making dollhouses in their Southern California garage after using their leftover materials.
As dollhouse sales began to outpace those of their picture frames, they decided they’d rather begin manufacturing toys instead. Their decision proved successful. A $100 billion company, they make toys for children around the world.
Michael Dell also built his computers inside his garage.
Michael Dell is another college dropout making it big in the computer business, although he’s not as well known as Gates or Jobs or Zuckerberg. In 1984, he began building customized computers for people. A few months later, he declared bankruptcy in order to concentrate on growing his business, which had already become profitable in its first year.
It was a very successful expansion, and Dell is now one of the most important players in the computer manufacturing market, and is worth more than $50 billion.
Nike didn’t even have a garage to begin with.
Get this: Nike started in the trunk of a car. Experimenting in a garage seems impossible, but Nike started with only $400. That’s right. Founded in 1964 by Phil Knight in the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant, Nike began as Blue Ribbon Sports. The University of Oregon’s Bill Bowerman tested Knight’s shoes when he was still making them. However, he had trouble finding retailers in the first two years.
And now, Nike produces the largest amount of sports apparel and accessories. At present, its worth is around $90 billion.
Therefore, failure to have an office space shouldn’t deter you from starting your business.