These Famous Companies Were Once A Startup, Read To Know The Secret To Their Success


Startups are the buzzword of the day. Hardly do you meet people these days, who do not know the meaning of the word. Nor are there people who do not dream of opening a startup and turning it into a successful business.

However, one needs to understand that the success and acclaim that we so often see in startups comes at a great cost. Constant hard work and perseverance is the key to become number one.

But we all know that this is easier said than done. Making a business successful is an uphill task, but we need to remember that even the big names in the industry had a modest beginning.

Listed below are five top companies which started small and made it large through grit and determination.


This startup started off when two young people were having problems to pay their rent after they had moved to a different city. They saw an opportunity of offering bed and breakfast for a minimal price. Their first customer was a 30-year-old Indian man.


The company didn’t take off immediately, the founders had to sell cereal boxes for at least six months to get the company afloat. After several rejections, it received its first funding of USD 112 million, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The story of Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma is a total rags-to-riches story. Born in a poor family in China, Jack failed his university entrance exam twice and was rejected from tonnes of jobs including KFC.


Although he had no knowledge of internet or coding but was captivated by the internet the first time he used it.

He started two internet ventures which failed miserably, and after four years of that, he finally started He gathered all of his connections and convinced them to invest in his vision. It started attracting customers and Ma is now the richest man in China.


Instagram, the globally famous photo app, was founded by Stanford University graduate, Kevin Systrom who came from humble backgrounds but was a tech genius.

Instagram Founder, Kevin Systrom

He was in school when he was introduced to technology and was a self-taught coder. He started working on an app which was more or less a cross between Foresquare and Flickr.

Mark Zuckerberg wanted to hire him while he was still an undergraduate but he denied the offer as he wanted to complete his degree.

Kevin, along with his friend Mike, spent eight weeks aggressively on developing this app And finally on the night of October 6, 2010, they launched it.

Only after two hours of Instagram going LIVE, its servers started falling down because of the rush of traffic and within 24 hours it became #1 app on iOS.

Within nine months, Instagram had a record-breaking 7 million users, which also included some of the highly-influential tech-loving celebrities like Justin Bieber and Ryan Seacrest.


Coming from a family of doctors, Ben Silbermann was training to be one. He got into Yale and that’s when he knew he didn’t want to be a doctor. He graduated and joined Google in sales and support.


Being a non-engineer in Google, he didn’t quite like the culture and felt out of place. That’s when he started working on his start-up, Pinterest.

Pinterest’s founder, Ben Silbermann held onto the idea and struggled with it even after 90 percent of people he approached didn’t approve of it. Within four months of the launch, it only had 900 users. It was a flop and not funded for a very long time.

Since it didn’t do that well, he was labeled as a failure for a really long time before Pinterest finally took off after a famous blogger recommended it.


Uber was born when its founder Travis Kalanick couldn’t find a cab in Paris to get to a conference. He envisioned it as a way to lower the cost of black-car service at the touch of a button.


After two previous failed startup ventures, it was difficult for Kalanick to convince the investors to believe in him but as soon as Ubercab launched in San Francisco, it became a huge hit. After San Francisco, they went on to expand Uber to other US cities and internationally, the first country being Paris.

Uber is currently valued at USD 69 billion, making it the most valuable privately held tech company in the world.

We hope that these inspirational stories would prove to be encouraging and make it clear that starting small is never the problem.

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