While some might not buy into the whole startup trend, it’s hard to deny that they represent the future of business. Some of the most successful companies today are technology-based startups, and many of these companies don’t even have a website – just an app. With valuations today at billions of dollars, see how the greats got inspired, and maybe you can be a startup mogul one day.
Uber ($62 billion)
Uber is the most used ride-share app out there, and it’s no surprise why. Not only do they offer an affordable chauffeur system to users, but also they have a food delivery on-demand service that lets you order anything from sushi, to fro-yo, to pizza at all hours.
Back in 2008, co-founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were complaining about finding a taxi in the worst circumstances. They then engineered a mobile app for the iPhone, and in 2010, after rolling out some test cars, it was a hit! Transportation will always be a need, and for their innovation, the partners received over $40 million in funding. Their best promotion is word of mouth — one of the most successful methods out there today. In 2018, they’re currently valued at $62 billion.
Airbnb ($30 billion)
Everyone knows Airbnb as a solid alternative to sketchy hotel rooms in the modern day and age. What everyone might not know is that they started out as a meager startup! With zero investors and no employment, founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia had to resort to selling cereal to keep the company alive, and it took almost 2 years before anything happened.
After moving to San Francisco in 2007, they noticed all the hotel rooms in the city were booked surrounding a design conference that attracted many. They started the idea for Airbnb with airbeds in their own homes, offering guests a night of sleep and breakfast in the morning. They re-launched in 2008 and had almost 2500 listings with 10,000 users. They’re now in over 81,000 cities with a current valuation of $30 billion.
Dropbox ($11 billion)
Dropbox has revolutionized the way that people use cloud-based storage, but they weren’t always so successful. CEO Drew Houston thought up the idea after he kept forgetting his USB memory stick while attending MIT. When Houston and his student co-founder Arash Ferdowsi looked for funding in 2007, no one was on board with the idea, partly because they didn’t understand it.
As a response, they made a Youtube video (informational yet funny) to tell people what it was all about, ultimately driving hundreds of thousands of people to the clip and their company, taking their beta waiting list from 5k to 75k people in a night, and growing to a million people seven months later. They’re now valued at over $11 billion.
Spotify ($30 billion)
Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services out there. It originally had an unprofitable business model, but now it even has Coca-Cola as an investor. Founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon created a piracy-free alternative that let people access streaming music in an accessible way that still paid the music industry instead of competing with it.
With the music industry not feeling attacked, Spotify had more allies than ever and carefully secured its business model in Sweden before dominating the U.S. market. Careful strategy and a well-rounded consumer experience is what brought this European company to the top. It now has a valuation of nearly $30 billion.
Snapchat ($24 billion)
Who would have thought an app that lets users send photos that quickly disappear from the recipient’s phone would take off? Stanford University’s Reggie Brown did, and he took his idea to fellow Stanford students Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy to get the app off the ground.
Originally called Picaboo, Snapchat was originally scoffed at by venture capitalists who found the concept useless. But Snapcat eventually found success with its unique ephemeral concept among social media platforms. Over 3.5 billion “snaps” are sent every day, and Snapchat is now valued at $24 billion.
Facebook ($500 billion)
Everyone knows wunderkind Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s story from the biopic The Social Network. Zuckerberg has many polarizing opinions for and against him, but one thing nobody can deny is his complete revolutionizing of technology and creation of the social media frenzy.
Social networking service Facebook launched back in 2004 by Zuckerberg and hisHarvard roommate Eduardo Saverin. At first it was shut down on allegations of violating privacy and copyrights, but charges were eventually dropped. Originally limited to Harvard students and the Ivy League network, by 2006, everyone aged 13+ with a valid email address could sign up. By 2009, it became the world’s most used social networking service. Now, billions of people all over the world are connected by Facebook. Albeit some recent scandals, it’s currently valued at over a whopping $500 billion.