Founding a startup isn't easy, but if you do it right, you'll be on the path to an exciting and rewarding journey - for sure.
In fact, startups are changing the world, with some of the world's most innovative products spawning from an idea developed in a small room by a handful of people. Now, three new startups are launched around the globe every three seconds - yes - you read that right - so to stand out from the crowd, you're going to need to do some serious legwork.
But, before you get down to the grind and begin building your startup business block by block, take a look at these four super successful startups for inspiration...
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There aren't many people who used or at least heard of Airbnb. What started as a savvy solution to a common accommodation-based problem is now a colossal business worth an estimated $10 billion. In the six years since it was launched from a San Francisco loft, Airbnb has grown into a leader in the 'sharing economy' - a marketplace where pretty much anyone can share anything from a couch to, of course, a spare room or apartment. Now the startup's reach extends to 34,000-plus cities in 192 countries, with co-founder Joe Gebbia as chief product officer and Nate Blecharczyk as the company's CTO - amazing.
The story of Jingdong is quite incredible. When the savage SARS virus hit the Chinese populace in 2002, Qiangdong Liu saw profits from his small electronics distribution business plunge as an increasing number of people avoided leaving their homes. Luckily, one of Liu's managers whipped up with the idea of trying to sell a portion of the company's inventory via the web. Soon after, the company was on track to do $12 million in online sales a mere three years, so Liu decided to shut down the brick and mortar side of his venture and go down the online-only route. Now, Jingdong is worth around $7 billion - and Lui barely knew what the internet even was back then!
It’s a known fact that listening to music increases productivity - and Spotify is something used in offices and workspaces across the globe. When founder Daniel Ek launched the company back in 2008, his driving force was why pay for music when you can listen for free - and of course, the concept caught fire. With two tiers, this legal mobile jukebox offers a free ad-supported service and a host of premium ad-free subscriptions which offer excellent value for money. Speaking to Fortune in 2011, Ek said, “the essential feeling we wanted to create was to have all the world’s music available at your fingertips. And it worked, the company is now worth over $4 billion - wow.
Ah, Dropbox, it's a handy platform, a handy platform indeed - oh and in case you didn't already know (joke) - it's worth billions (10 to be precise). MIT graduate Drew Houston co-founded Dropbox with Arash Ferdowsi in 2007 fuelled by frustration for transferring files via a USB thumb drive. Less than a decade later, Dropbox is far more than your average cloud storage and file-syncing solution. Last year, Dropbox acquired the quirky mobile email app Mailbox, and what's more, it's even launched a photo sharing app. We're excited to see what the company will do this year.