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Billion Dollar Companies That Got Their Kick Start In A Garage

Check out these legendary start ups that went from garages to riches.

By Archana Aithal Rose October 18, 2016
Courtesy of nbbj copyright studio 216

Ever wondered what could’ve been if you’d stuck it out with your high-school garage band and made it big? Would you be on a cross-country bus tour with your groupies right now, instead of standing by the office water-cooler? There’s going to be a whole lot of coulda, shoulda, woulda, when you see the success stories of the world’s most famous companies that raked billions, starting out in their humble garages. Check out these legendary garage start-ups, then and now.

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Apple: The company whose net worth is almost $700 billion today, started out in Steve Job’s garage in Cupertino, CA with founders Jobs and Steve Wozniak selling 50 units of the Apple I computer for $500 each to a local retailer. Together the two Steves hand-built the pieces with the help of their tiny team. Apple’s futuristic headquarters scheduled for completion in 2017 will be set in a 2.8 million square foot area accommodating 13,000 employees.

Apple's headquarters. Rendering courtesy of gizmodo.com
Apple’s headquarters. Rendering courtesy of gizmodo.com

Amazon: Delivering everything to your doorstep like a year-round Santa, the world’s largest E-commerce juggernaut started out as an online bookstore in founder, Jeff Bezos’s Bellevue, Washington garage. The company’s main office was situated in his garage with an old door serving as Jeff’s desk. Amazon’s new headquarters in Seattle expected to complete in 2018 is a state-of-the-art green building but still echoes Bezos’s start-up ethic, which is—every day you come to work here, there is something new to experiment, innovate and invent.

Amazon's headquarters. Photo courtesy of geekwire.com
Amazon’s headquarters. Photo courtesy of geekwire.com

Google: Can you imagine the Internet without Google? Where would we find all the answers? In 1998, Stanford graduates, Larry Page and Sergey Brin found the answers they were looking for in their friend, Susan Wojcicki’s California garage, forming their company Google. Today, the company’s global HQ and its offices worldwide are a cool prototype for revolutionary workspaces.

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Harley Davidson: Don’t go by Netflix’s Making a Murderer, not all Wisconsin garages hide serial killers. Some, like the one in Milwaukee gave the world the fastest, slickest motorcycles—Harley Davidson. In 1901, 21-year old William S. Harley penciled plans for a small engine to power a bicycle. Harley and his friend, Arthur Davidson built their first motorcycle out of a 15-foot wooden shed that was used to park cars. In 1903, they officially founded Harley Davidson, a name synonymous with speed.

Harley-Davidson's product development center. Photo courtesy of flad.com
Harley-Davidson’s product development center. Photo courtesy of flad.com

Disney: About 45 minutes from Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA is the LA house where the Walt Disney Company was conceived. The house belonged to Walt Disney’s uncle, where Walt and his brother, moved in to set up the first Disney studio in the one-car garage out back. Experiments filming Alice in Wonderland led to building a company that today, is the world’s highest grossing media corporation.

Walt Disney Co. corporate headquarters in Burbank. Photo courtesy of Reed Saxon / Associated.
Walt Disney Co. corporate headquarters in Burbank. Photo courtesy of Reed Saxon / Associated.

Yankee Candle: Michael Kittredge’s childhood experiment melting scented crayons as a gift for his folks could’ve easily ended up being a pyromaniac’s dream, turning his garage to ashes—but it didn’t. Instead, he turned this hobby into the famous Yankee Candle Company that sells in more than 50 countries worldwide. The first Yankee Candle shop is now a mini-museum.

Yankee Candle Store. Photo courtesy of NRF
Yankee Candle Store. Photo courtesy of NRF
Archana Aithal Rose

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Archana Aithal Rose

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Archana Aithal Rose

Archana Aithal Rose’s articles have appeared in The Times of India, CNNGo, Condé Nast Traveler and Vogue, covering such broad range of topics as fashion, art, travel, culture, celebrities, architecture and technology. In addition to writing, Archana's also known for her mad photography and cooking skills.

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