The world’s largest retailer was started by Jeff Bezos in 1994. Amazon was initially started as an online bookstore. Bezos had the idea after hearing about the rise in internet use and after learning that mail order catalogs were not required to collect sales taxes in states where they lack a physical presence. Bezos and a few employees ran the company from his garage after quitting his job as Vice President of a successful Wall Street Investment Firm.
They then expanded operations into a two-bedroom house and eventually developed a test site. Amazon.com went public in 1997. In 2016, Amazon is now worth an estimated $300 Billion.
Sarah Blakey took her $5,000 savings to start up Spanx. During an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Blakey told Winfrey that she got the idea for Spanx after hearing Oprah mention that she cut off the feet of pantyhose in order to wear them with sandals. It took her a year to create the first prototype that she tried out on friends and family, which was unheard of at the time. She was running the company out of her apartment and was still a fax machine salesperson at the time.
Since Spanx is a private company and does not release financial information, we do not know the annual revenue of the company. However, we do know that Blakely owns the entirety of the brand. Blakey is now reportedly worth $1.1 billion .
In the beginning Minecraft was developed by Swedish programmer Markus “Notch” Persson. It was later taken over by Mojang. It is second only to Tetris is being the best selling computer game. It also currently holds the title for most downloaded game.
Persson started working on Minecraft while working a full-time job. Once the game began to gain popularity, he quit his job to work on Minecraft. In 2015, he sold his company for $2.5 billion.
Originally nicknamed “BackRub”, the PageRank technology that defined Google was created by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1996. Brin and Page founded Google while they were getting their PHDs at Stanford. Their goal was simple, they wanted to create a place where you could find anything. But instead of using the number of times a search term appeared on a page as a primary method like most search engines of the day, Brin and Page focused on better system that analyzed the relationships between websites.
Working on the Google project from their dorm room, they were reluctant to become entrepreneurs because they didn’t want to shelve their PHDs and rush into the hype of the “dot-com” craze. But after Google began to receive about 10,000 searches a day, they decided to take it seriously. Google was initially based in the garage of a friend in Menlo Park, California.
The company went public in 2004. As of 2016, Google averages 100 billion monthly searches.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in 1976. The original name was Apple Computers INC, and it’s primary goal was to develop computers. The company grew under Jobs’s lead. The company was originally operated out of Job’s parents’ garage. Apple is now the most valuable company in the world.