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Where 14 Of The Top Internet Businesses Got Started

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Today I decided to show everyone where 14 of top internet businesses were started. It shows you that you don’t have to start with an office etc.  A good number started from dorm rooms and their bedrooms with just a laptop – so stop dreaming and start achieving!

When I started my first internet business I was still at school and was only 15 years old. I would work from any where possible to make my dream of becoming a millionaire young a reality. I would work from school, my bed room, internet cafes and even at friends houses.

Where 14 Famous Companies Got Started

Where Facebook Was Started

Today 1)    Website: Facebook
Founder: Mark Zuckerberg
Place started the business: In his Harvard Dorm Room
The birth of Facebook is related to Zuckerberg’s appetite for hacking.
He got into limelight when he refused $1 billion offer from Yahoo. Later on he sold a 1.6% stake in Facebook to Microsoft for $240 million, raising the valuation to $15 billion.

facebook

Where Facebook.com Was Started

Where Google Was Started

2)    Website: Google
Founder: Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Place started the business: In a garage
Larry and Sergey started on a name BackRub. But Larry and Sergey decide that the BackRub search engine needs a new name. After some brainstorming, they go with Google — a play on the word “googol,” a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. The use of the term reflects their mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.

The Garage Google Was Started In

Where Runescape Was Started

3)    Website: Runescape
Founder: Andrew Gower
Place started the business: From a bedroom in his parents’ house in Nottingham.
He has involved in coding for games since his childhood. He had a penchant for dungeon gaming. He initially started RunEscape as a hobby, and later monetized his website and turned out to be a successful business venture.

runescape

The Bedroom Where Runescape.com Was Started

Where PopCap Games Was Started

4)    Website: PopCap Games
Founders: John Vechey, along with Brien Fiete and Jason Kapalka
Place started the business: In his office
John Vechey, along with Brien Fiete and Jason Kapalka founded Popcap games in the year 2000. They earlier worked with internet gaming sites like flipside and pogo. Their first gaming product was Bejeweled, which became a big hit, and received numerous awards.

Where PopCapGames.com Was Started

Where Threadless Was Started

5)    Website: Threadless
Founder: Jack Nickell along with Jacob Dehart
Place started the business: From a studio apartment
Jack Nickell along with Jacob Dehart ( both college dropouts ), started threadless when they were still working on their regular job. Both the partners put a modest $500 as their initial investment. Now the company has annual revenue to the extent of $50 million.

Where Threadless.com Was Started

Where BizChair Was Started

6)    Website: Biz Chair
Founder: Sean Belnick
Place started the business: From his bedroom
He started with $500, with an initial inventory of 50 products. Now the company has 75 employees and sells more than 25000 products online. He sells office furniture, home furniture, school furniture and medical equipment in online shop. Microsoft, Google and American Idol are among some of his notable clients.

Where BizChair.com Was Started

Where Digg Was Started

7)    Website: Digg
Founder: Kevin Rose
Place started the business: In his apartment.
Originally was going to be called “Diggnation”, but Kevin Rose wanted a simpler name. He chose the name “Digg”, because users are able to “dig” stories, out of those submitted, up to the front page. The site was called “Digg” instead of “Dig” because the domain name “dig.com” had been previously registered by the Walt Disney Internet Group.

Where Digg.com Was Started

Where PlentyOfFish Was Started

8)    Website: PlentyOfFish
Founder: Markus Frind
Place started the business: In his office
Back in 2001 after his birthday someone in the office introduced him to online dating sites.  He went back to his desk and checked out udate.com and kiss.com and lavalife/web personals. He was bored and He wanted to chat with people.  He was really annoyed when he found out you had to pay for everything, he ended up telling the girl who introduced him to the sites that he could do better and make them for free, so he went and registered Plentyoffish.com.

Where PlentyOfFish.com Was Started

Where Voltage Was Started

9)    Website: Voltage
Founder: Rishi Kacker and Matt Pauker
Place started the business: In a basement office in the engineering building
Rishi  Kacker and Matt Pauker worked on the technology as a summer research project while attending Stanford. They entered a business-plan competition they won the contest. With the help of some seasoned executives, the two have created a thriving security-software business with more than 130 big-business customers and 75 employees. “It’s still amazing to me,” says Pauker.

Where Voltage.com Was Started

Where YouTube Was Started

10)    Website: YouTube
Founder: Chad Hurley
Place started the business: In his office
After that fateful dinner party, where Hurley and Chen wanted to create a simpler way to share their videos of the night, they immediately went to work at the office creating the answer. “In February, we started developing the product,” says Hurley. “In May, we had our first public preview. And in December, we officially launched YouTube. By that time we were serving over three million videos a day.”

youtube

Where YouTube.com Was Started

Where FastHost Was Started

11)    Website: FastHost
Founder: Andrew Michael
Place started the business: From his bedroom
He became a multi-millionaire after selling an internet business he started as a teenager. He started up Fasthosts as an internet project for a sixth form project at the age of 17. With the sale of Fasthosts, Mr Michael’s wealth has rocketed to £47m.

Where FastHost.com Was Started

Where WhatEverLife Was Started

12)    Website: WhatEverLife
Founder: Ashley Qualls
Place started the business: started at her kitchen office.
Started her business in 2004 with an $8 domain name and an old computer,  at the age of just fourteen. She didn’t know she was starting a business at the time – she thought she was just creating an easy way to share her cool MySpace background designs with her friends.

Where WhatEverLife.com Was Started

Where eBay Was Started

13)    Website: eBay
Founder: Pierre Omidyar
Place started the business: In the home of Pierre Omidyar
There aren’t many sites on the Internet that can claim the success that eBay has enjoyed. The first name eBay used was Echo Bay Technology. When the company tried to register the domain name echobay.com, they found that it was already in use. They shortened the name to eBay.com and the Website was born.

Where eBay.com Was Started

Where LinkedIn Was Started

14)    Website: LinkedIn
Founder: Reid Hoffman
Place started the business: In the living room
LinkedIn was officially founded in 2003. The site was launched on May 5th (affectionately referred to by employees as “Cinco de LinkedIn”) when the five founders invited about 350 of their most important contacts to join. At the end of the first month in operation, LinkedIn had a total of 4,500 members in the network. LinkedIn’s first “real” office was on Shoreline Road in Mountain View.

linkedin

Where Linkedin.com Was Started

I hope the list has inspired you and has made it clear you can start anywhere!

Where did you start you first business?

Read more: ‘Top 20 Most Awesome Company Offices’

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Comments

  1. Een Rockstar says:

    As I start my biz from zero(everything was zero) so my 1st place is in my bedroom..

  2. Lillea Woodlyns says:

    This is a fun read!

    I started my online business in a tiny (maybe 350 sq foot) 3-room suite beside the laundry area for the building. Noisy! lol

    I don’t have the numbers that these guys do yet, but give me a bit more time and who knows 🙂

  3. kayt romeo says:

    Thats interesting. nice post.

  4. Ebay looks kinda like it had a bit of backing from the start, just going by the decor and what not, still, I guess none of it really matters once the business gets as popular as some of them have.

  5. Robert Avila says:

    Thanks Michael,

    That was an awesome post!

    It really puts things into perspective seeing where some of these amazing companies were founded. If someone has vision it doesn’t matter how small they start out.

    Many reading this will realize that their office doesn’t look much different than the ones in your post and it will inspire them to do great things!

    • Hey Robert,

      Exactly, most people start just like all these big sites, from a computer in a bedroom, garage or even dorm room. Its the fact that we take action. Just do it people!

      Mike

  6. Cool, that’s inspiring

  7. I love reading stories like this! Right now I’m in my lounge with a laptop on my lap (no space for a study!). hope to have a story like this in the future 🙂 (dreaming big!)

  8. peter mcgrath says:

    hi michael

    say a great post but how did you manage to get all the
    pictures of the various founders bedrooms kitchens it goes to show if we are creative thers hope for us all

    thanks
    peter

  9. I am going have to get me one of those “bedroom” dealys they seem to bring a lot of inspiration to a business.

  10. I hope to be on this list one day! Started from my living room home office. Great Post, just the inspiration I need to keep going!

  11. It seems as though the worst websites are built in the nicest homes.

  12. Muzi Mohale says:

    Ah, welcome back mate, I missed your daily dose of motivation. That’s the beauty with internet business, it’s flexible to start with a pc you’re on the go, no fancy office park address with unnecessary monthly bills, while you still try to find your feet.

    • Hey Muzi,

      Thanks very much, hopefully will start providing daily inspiration again….

      You can start from anywhere, a laptop in starbucks if needs be!

      Michael

  13. Mine started in my living area but can’t make a great story yet and don’t have a pic to show.
    So it’s true – just do it (don’t give too many excuses to start s’thing)

  14. Thanks Michael…this is truly inspirational. I am currently working on lauching my product and I hope to have a story as successful as the one’s you have presented to us.

  15. Michael….
    Once again you have done a great Job.

    This post was really awesome and inspirational.

    Today i have lot of facilities, still cant able to step up.

    So i have to work harder.

    Thanks Pal.

  16. cool & inspiring post. Thanks.

  17. Harry Lewis says:

    I love to hear these success stories. they are very inspiring. All of these people had one thing in common. A knowledge of programming & ‘Computerese’. Unfortunately, although I have the desire, I do not have the ability to set up web sites, do programming, etc. If anyone is interested, I have the desire, the time, but not the technical ability. I would love to start off by delving into Affiliate Marketing. I believe there is an enormous potential for making money there. I am great at follow-up and running things once set up. Anyone interested in going for a ‘ride’ with me, with the knowledge I lack? I can be reached at: Uniqueopp@aol.com. Thanks for reading. Harry

  18. This is great inspiration for me, thank you.

    I just started my website a couple of weeks ago out of my bedroom.

    Hopefully I can soon replace the desktop with a laptop and advance to the living room. =D

  19. David Stillwagon says:

    Great post, I guess it shows that you can start an online business anywhere.

  20. Celes | The Personal Excellence Blog says:

    Hey Michael, great reminder that every business starts from somewhere 🙂 Thanks for putting this together!

  21. Gotta love this post.

    The Digg photo looks all too familiar !

    Best one gotta be the YouTube photo though, looks like the guys set up the site on someone else’s time…

    Take a bow all of you gents. Take a bow.

  22. It’s great to see that your 1st “office” does not have to be the perfect office. I will keep pushing forward. Thanks!

  23. Sharon/The Baby Boomer Queen says:

    I started my business when I wasn’t able to work regular hours any more (I have Lupus) and I was forced to close my antique clothing and milliner shop.

    Now, I work from my home and my computer is right next to my bed. I wish I had a computer in every room of the house.

    Great post…one that should give everyone incentive and inspiration. I am glad that a friend sent this to me. I can’t wait to post it on my blog.

    Southern smiles and world peace,
    Sharon
    ~The Baby Boomer Queen~

  24. WOW! Very inspirational! I love the fact that these guys and gals started these big companies from their bedroom or from their garage. Pretty amazing. That shows fact that if they can do, you can also 🙂

  25. Chef Tony says:

    Great post, but remember too, we don’t all have to be striving to be ebay…niche marketing does very well too…keep it up everyone!!

  26. Great post – really gives you inspiration.

    I have started many a business from such places but am still waiting to code the next Facebook 🙂

  27. mostly, successful IM are born from their bedroom. 🙂

  28. I started my start-up http://www.bulldogbyte.com in my bedroom too.

  29. Greg Ellison says:

    That is awesome that they created something huge in their homes or garages. Most of the creation were with friends so that is cool. We have the power create anything we want we just need to do it. Greg Ellison

  30. what does it say that some of the great tech entrepreneurs have no taste for interior design..?

  31. Jason R. Ayers says:

    Very inspirational post …it doesn’t matter where you start – just start.

    Jason R. Ayers

  32. Raul Pellerano says:

    My partners and I started our start up – http://www.bongobing.com – with two of us in our dorm rooms and one working from home (after a full day at work). We’re now all living together and are working out of our apartment. We’ll hopefully make Michael’s list. Thank you for the post, I posted it on our Facebook fan page and twitter blog along with my personal facebook page.

  33. You just never know where you might end up, when you work hard on an idea! Facinating story’s and inspiring for everybody to never give up.

  34. Salvador Stabler says:

    Great point my friend. It doesn’t matter where you get started as long as you get going.

    So many people are afraid of failure and at the same time don’t know how to focus.

    thanks mike

  35. Toko Kaos Online says:

    great post.. just start and move to the top.. they are amazing..

  36. jj-momscashblog says:

    Hi Michael, Glad to hear your back from your trip would love to hear about that too. This was a great post of yours, I started in my living room and then the phone rang telling me I had been picked to buy my blog…actually I was sitting in my chair . So now I know just from the pictures and stories behind the pics. that I’m on my way to greatness. I think any and all of us can achieve greatness all it takes is perseverance and dedication doing something that we love, there in lies the trick… loving what one does. Thanks again Michael for a great post. JJ p.s. sending u an email re: Twitter.

  37. Good to see this ….

  38. Luis Lopez says:

    This article is awesome, that gives me courage to keep working on my design company, even if I work from home in a little studio, maybe one day I’ll get a good office like those guys.

  39. David Amxtrong says:

    Well, very nice post, interesting!

    I started my first business in classroom.

    Thank so much for your nice post.

    Cheer,

  40. Thanks for sharing this wonderful inspirational story.

  41. Very Inspirational! Keep the great post coming : )

  42. Hey Michael!
    Very inspirational and interesting post.

    Thank you!

  43. fred mwabamba says:

    hey mike! the article is very inspiring, i luv it

  44. tworzenie zaplecza says:

    I can mention Ma.gnolia.com This was also started in garage. Unfortunatelly it was also maintained in garage. Finally it also ended in garage (admin didn’t make backup, mirror or smth like this)

  45. Lucas Tadeu says:

    Really nice article.It’s nice to know that most of these giants of the today internet started just like us,. Thanks for posting, really liked it.

  46. Gary A. Parenti says:

    Hey Michael,

    Welcome home.I wondered why I hadn`t received
    any mail from you lately.As always another great post
    from one of the best..

    I also started in my home , and I am still in my home..
    Of course I just started 2 months ago..So I guess I will be doing this right here for some time to come…

    Looking forward to your next post…
    One of your followers,
    G.A.P. / Pyradom

  47. Alexander Bickov says:

    Nice historical ideas

  48. Bijay Rungta (@rungss) says:

    Whoaa..

    All of them were Garage Bands/Startups

    I read in The Google Story that Page and Brin used to stay at their place that they took after taking a leave from the University for almost 24 Hours….

    I was doing just that (though in a considerably mature Organization) but Some People just don’t seem to understand and point out the general Rules/Processes that the Organization has already Adopted and resist any exception being made…

    Rules are there to Protect an Organization as a wise Friend of mine once pointed out…

    This came after a lot of Thoughts, and Learning Process including this Blog Archive by me though…

    Where I Observed that There was one rule that most People just got to follow even if most others ignored by some of the Other..
    http://bijayrungta.com/one-rule-thats-followed-by-everyone-around-the-world

    What do you guys have to say???
    Reply me @rungss on Twitter, besides Commenting here..
    Cheers,
    Bijay Rungta
    Software Architect

  49. Stuart Wooster says:

    That’s my room!! Hahaha!

    Nice post….but I really do worry about people who just take pics of their rooms like that.

  50. Stanley Chong says:

    all things started from scratch. well, if you got a ideas, you can start from everywhere, even the kitchen,

    good jobs.

    Stanley Chong

  51. Shareef Defrawi says:

    Very inspiring indeed.

  52. Gus Zadra says:

    I received this in an email from our CEO. We started our company in my living room, then it moved to a basement, then a larger living room, and we’re moving in to our office a the end of the month. No seed money, just hard work, and big ideas.
    http://www.bonsaimediagroup.com

    Thanks for the post. It’s great inspiration for us.
    Cheers

  53. Umer Hayat says:

    that was a great read Micheal!
    I started my business only 1 year ago from my bedroom and I’m still in my bedroom…:)

    Actually I like work from bedrooms…:))

  54. Invaders Troop says:

    Interesting yo… Very nice to see where those top sites born…

  55. Todd Perlee says:

    Inspiring. These people also have great marketing instincts. There’s nothing like having a great name and logo to go along with your business plan initially. Brand legitimizes. Check out http://www.stembrand.com if you need to move quickly on marketing with an affordable, experienced agency.

  56. Riley Fox says:

    Michael,
    Thanks for taking the time to research this post of fourteen of the top Internet Businesses. Not only fun to read, but makes someone just starting an Internet business get motivated.

  57. Julio Cosmo says:

    Great post Michael!!!

  58. GoBusiness101 says:

    Soon I will be featured here where I also started. LOL. Tanx

  59. Yoav Shalev says:

    this is truly inspirational! really keeps you motivated to continue and make your dream come true!

    thanks for sharing with us.

  60. Yael Rozencwajg says:

    It’s quite funny to read all the comments bellow!
    Everyone’s here seems to have stated like these major websites, but none achieve them…they surely had something more than (us) people ….

  61. Bruceongames says:

    Andrew Gower rarely gives interviews. However he has just done one for Bruceongames that gives rare insight into his early days and advice for anyone wanting to emulate him: http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/08/18/exclusive-andrew-gower-interview/

    • Wow Bruce thats really cool that you got a interview with Andrew, I have never seen anyone get a interview with him, very cool!

  62. Generic Domain Market says:

    Great post .. thanks for putting this together!

  63. Damn GOOD !

  64. ahmet alp balkan says:

    Thanks for this inspirational post!

  65. wow. have taken long without seeing mic blogs this is very good and motivational. thanks michael

    you should post your own pic mic

  66. Dustin @ Inzolo says:

    Nice. This was fascinating to me. I love the power of the Internet to allow business to start from virtually nothing. Maybe I should take a snapshot of my office now! 🙂

  67. Robert Rawlins says:

    Gives you hope! One of these days I’m going to have myself a billion dollar idea! haha

    Great article.

  68. Nardyello says:

    It seems crazy, but it all just started in a room with a brilliant mind thinking of something to do that didn’t exist before.

    Really great post. Thank you for sharing.

  69. Dave DaCoda says:

    Nice!
    European founders will to that, too.
    Our german website http://www.admberlin.de started in 2004 in my house.
    My first web-projekt, worlds first internet-dog, started in 2000 in my living room with a pc, webcam, flat (at that time very expensive) and a shepherd dog (www.dogcam.de) 🙂
    I sold that company but the new owner closed that a year later.

  70. qatar world says:

    awesome post !! ..

    wow bedroom and dorms??

    my bedroom bigger than all of them and i have all opportunities to start but !! i dont know whats stops me ?? im 20 as u

  71. Geezzzzzz.
    Thanks for the story. Now my turn ( . ) ( . )

  72. Nice to see how some startups I use frequently was founded and started, it’s so awesome!

  73. This is good stuff, Inspiring!

  74. Internet Business says:

    This post shows that t succeed you need to have vision!So you can start an internet business from anywhere as long as you have goals to pursue.

  75. Colin Jeffrey says:

    Fantastic, great how you got all the photo’s and Info.
    a very good learning point too. Just goe’s to show that you can live out your dreams from anywhere, the Google set up tells you it all.

  76. Thats a great post Michael.. We all use those services or dreams big.. and never tries to know how they built it.. or where it has started from.. 🙂

  77. mindxstudio says:

    Thanks Michael, for such good stuff. 🙂

  78. What a fantastic article, awesome to see that all of us web junkies started in our little rooms 😉

  79. I started my first business in a backpacker bar on a fateful Tuesday evening. Who new where it would go…

    Thanks for the list. Interesting read

  80. In a bedroom and run it on the move. In colleagues offices, even overseas at times.

  81. This was a great read. It gives me inspiration to keep trying.

  82. Habtamu says:

    i m going to be one of them even if i do not have a bed room.

  83. Darin Franzen says:

    my buddy Chris started our company in his home office. He is in Florida, I am in California & our other partner is in Philly. The company is now built on the road primarily with an iPhone. Facebook, YouTube etc.. are our best friends!! we would not be where we are today without them 🙂

  84. Entrepreneurs Blog says:

    That’s funny and yet inspiring. Kind of puts things in perspective when you see the humble beginnings of some massive companies.

  85. alohafitness says:

    Very inspiring, if these guys can do it and get started in their basement, I know I can.

  86. Julie ~ jbulie's blog says:

    Loved it, Michael. Truly.

    I cannot get enough of inspirational stories. The big change is when you decide to participate in internet marketing and blogging. I’ve read a googol of stories on the web before starting my blog.

    Since that day, my learning curve has shot through the roof. With your permission, I’ll share this link with some of my students.

    I also liked the stories about how the domain names for ebay and digg were already taken. Great info.

    Thanks.
    Julie

  87. Anphicle says:

    Great and Inspiring post but some of these I have never heard of. Thanks for the read though.
    Anphicle.

  88. i’m still in my tiny room 🙁

  89. in my college bedroom

  90. harvestwages says:

    Yes Micheal,
    one can start anywhere. All we need is just to make the first step. we must dare to make that step, for it’s the decision we make today that determines our position tomorrow.
    I knew very little about how facebook came to place. I think offering $1.000.000.000 means yahoo saw a lot of success in the venture.
    We just need to belief in what we do, just as you believe in incomediary. you are a great inspiration to me

  91. Martyna Bizdra says:

    Michael

    You have forgotten to add my business to the list!

    anyway, have a nice day:)

    Martyna Bizdra

  92. vishnu soman says:

    I really got inspired by this…,but now i am working at the development stage of a new internet business model…..looking for technical cofounders

  93. Thanks for the great post! I’ve been looking for ideas and inspiration for my home-based Biz… This gets me in a “glass is half full” mood, which is great. I needed to inject some positivity!

    Also, if I might add, and I know these are not all Amercan businesses, but they are all born of living in a free society. It is the American Drem, where anyone can be successful, I think we can all have our American Dream come true! We can comete and make ech other better nd mre successful. We ont have o run eachother out of business. I believe hee is plenty to go aroud, and When it does, The problems in our contry, and tge world, wont seem so daunting. Sorry to speechify, but i just love seeing success stories! Best of luck to everyone!

    PS – sorry for any misspellings. The iPad sometimes changes what I write and I miss it. 🙂

  94. Maegan Anderson says:

    You can start anywhere that your comfortable working. It doesn’t matter where you start, you just need a creative mind and a business strategy.