From Garage to Fortune 500: 5 Companies That Started At Home and Made It Big!



Source: Lendio

Text Version:


YEAR 1 — Garage Days

      Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniack and Ronald Wayne started a business out of a garage in Cupertino, CA, putting together one of the first prototypes of their personal computers. They had 50 orders. Initial Investment:
      Jobs invested $1,500 from the sale of his VW bus. “Wos” threw in $250 from the sale of his programmable Hewlett-Packard calculator.

Year 2
Mike Markkula invested $92,000 in Apple, and the company was incorporated.

Year 4
Xerox invested $1 million in Apple

Year 5
Apple went public

Year 6
Apple released 40 new software programs, opened European offices, and put out its first hard disk.

Year 8
Apple entered the Fortune 500 at #411 with revenue of $583,100,000, becoming the fastest growing company in history.

Whole Foods Market

YEAR 1 — Garage Days

      25-year-old college dropout John Mackey and twenty-one year old Rene Lawson Hardy were evicted from their home for using their apartment storage for the store. They began living at their store full time. Initial investment:
      Borrowed $45,000 from family and friends and incorporated.

Year 3
Partnered with Craig Weller and Mark Skiles to merge Saferway with their Clarksville Natural Grocery, resulting in the opening of the original Whole Foods Market.

Year 7
Whole Foods market began its expansion out of Austin, first to Houston and Dallas

Year 11
Opened locations in New Orleans with the purchase of Whole Food Company.

Year 12
Expanded to the West Coast with a store in Palo Alto, California.

Year 13
Fueled rapid growth by acquiring other natural food chains

Year 14
Went public.

Year 25
Saw an expansion into Canada

Year 27
Entered the United Kingdom with the acquisition of seven Fresh and Wild stores. Joins the Fortune 500. Entered at #479 with revenue of 3,864,900,000.


YEAR 1 — Garage Days

      Matt Matson and Elliot & Ruth Handler start in a garage in Southern California, making dollhouse furniture out of the scraps from their picture frame business. Initial investment: the company launched with 3 pieces of shop equipment purchased on installment from Sears.

Year 4

Year 11
Cross marketed by advertising its toys through the popular “Mickey Mouse Club” TV show.

Year 15
Mattel went public. Barbie Doll led Mattel to the forefront of the toy industry.

Year 21
Mattell entered the Fortune 500 at #468 with revenue of $145,200,000.


YEAR 1 — Garage Days

      Started by Jeff Bezos from his garage in Bellevue, Washington where book orders were shipped to all 50 states, and to 48 countries. Initial investment: Nick Hanauer invested $40,000, joined by a larger $100,000 from Tom Alburg that helped make the new website more user-friendly.

Year 3

Year 4
Went public

Year 5
Online music and video business companies were acquired in the United Kingdom and Germany.

Year 6
The firm expanded into selling toys, electronics, tools and hardware

Year 9
Entered the Fortune 500 at #492 with revenue of $3,122,400,000


YEAR 1 — Garage Days

          English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegel, and writer Gordon Bowker opened the store called Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice as a coffee bean store. Each invested $1,350 of their own money then secured a $5,000 business loan from the local bank.

Year 4
Went public

Year 14
Howard Shultz entered the picture that Starbucks began focusing not on selling coffee beans, but on making coffee, tea, and espresso drinks for customers inside their store.

Year 15
Incorporated as IL Giornale

Year 16
The owners of Starbucks Coffee Company decided to sell their coffee business, along with the name, to a group of local investors for $3.7 million. Schultz raised the money by convincing investors of his vision.

Year 28
Locations in the United States, Japan and Singapore, and several other product and brand extensions.

Year 29
Partnership with Kraft Foods

Year 34
Entered the Fortune 500 at #465 with revenue of $3,388,900,000.

Starting your fortune 500 company:


1. Develop a business plan and a vision for the brand that you are passionate about

2. Along with a team of dependable leadership, spend weeks and months listening to the needs and wants of your customers

3. Focus on the corporate culture, “a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time”, as well as the vision and personality (logo, dress code, etc.) of your business

4. Look for improvements so that you can meet and exceed your customers and employees expectations

5. Test new theories and practices to stay ahead of your competition

6. Develop a marketing plan convincing customers to purchase your products or services over your competitors, by making your product more valuable or unique than your competitor’s product

7. Increase profits and income (which is, frankly, a no-brainer)

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.