Although you probably think of companies as largely occupying space in an office building or similar location, the fact is that many companies started out in a much smaller location. In fact, some of the most successful companies on earth started out in a simple basement. Take a look at all these companies that started out in a basement, then consider a few of the most successful ones.
Tech and Other Successful Companies That Started in Parents’ Basements Created By: JES
Fortnite/Epic Games (1991) — $15 Billion
Many people have heard of Epic Games through their hit game Fortnite. Although Fortnite is definitely how the company has expanded into the modern consciousness, however, it’s not the only thing Epic Games has released. Plus, the whole company started in 1991 when founder Tim Sweeney started making artwork for potential video games from his parents’ basement. Fast-forward a few decades and the company is responsible for the biggest video game in the world.
Qualtrics (2002) — $11.1 Billion
Many people know of Qualtrics because of its extremely useful abilities in the world of field research. Even if you’ve never completed research for an academic field, you may have used Qualtrics to take a survey for another individual who is doing that academic research. In 2002, Jared and Ryan Smith quit their jobs to start Qualtrics, and in just a few years, it became a hugely useful tool for a variety of individuals.
FUBU (1992) — $6 Billion
Streetwear is a huge industry, and FUBU is one of the biggest names in streetwear. Daymond John started in 1992 with just $40 in capital and his mother’s sewing machine in his basement. How did he spread the word about his brand new streetwear label? He talked to hip hop artists in the local area, asking them to wear his clothes in music videos. The unconventional marketing tactic worked, and it captured the young urban music scene to the tune of $6 billion.
Under Armour (1996) — $3.5 Billion
Nowadays, athleticwear is a huge part of fashion in general, but in 1996, it was still a burgeoning niche. In his grandmother’s basement, 24-year-old Kevin Plank designed T-shirts made of the moisture-wicking fabric that his compression shorts used. He realized that they stayed dry, even when his cotton T-shirts became soaked with sweat. When one of his teammates got to the NFL and wore an Under Armour shirt on the cover of USA Today, the company hit its big break, and it now holds a valuation of $3.5 billion.
Yankee Candle (1960s) — $1.75 Billion
If you’ve ever gone down a full aisle of scented candles, you probably have Michael Kittredge II to thank for it. Starting in the 1960s, he made a few candles from melted crayons in his parents’ basement, mixing the maximum amount of fragrance into these candles. Neighbors started noticing, and over time, he began receiving orders in the local area for these candles. The Yankee Candle business continued to grow, selling most recently for $1.75 billion in 2013.
Kaplan (1938) — $1.5 Billion
Tutoring and other educational services are an important part of the learning process for many students, and Kaplan fills that niche. In 1938, Stanley Kaplan started tutoring immigrant families from his parents’ home in Brooklyn, helping them prepare for the upcoming standardized NY Regents Exam. That neighborhood tutoring service quickly grew into something much more wide-reaching, and Stanley Kaplan sold the business to The Washington Post Company in 1984. Annual revenue is still at $1.5 billion as recently as 2018.
Basements have been an incredibly important and useful tool for many starting companies for decades. As far back as the 1930s, aspiring entrepreneurs have been using basements as the place to get their concepts together before they begin selling. You may want to consider making sure your own basement is as put-together as possible, just in case you end up coming up with the next billion-dollar idea there.
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