5 huge businesses that started in a garage

5 huge businesses that started in a garage


Regus is the world’s largest workplace provider and knows by experience that location is crucial for all kinds of businesses. But when you’re just starting out, it doesn’t always make sense to pay for a rigid, long-term lease. These five companies proved that you can still become a huge success when you start from home – so before you commit to a costly corporate office, remember that there are plenty of alternative and flexible ways to project the right image for your business.

 

1. Amazon

In 1994, while searching for new investment opportunities for his firm, Jeff Bezos came across an intriguing statistic: that internet usage was growing at a rate of 2,300 per cent per month. So what does an entrepreneur do in order to capitalise on this huge potential? Obviously, he spends a year in his garage.

With a team of just five employees operating out of his Seattle parking space, Jeff spent months sourcing books and developing a user-friendly, online shopping process that could easily connect customers to millions of different titles. And while it wasn’t perfect from the outset – early users were able to receive credit from Amazon by ordering negative quantities of books, for example – Amazon has now grown to a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, despite its humble beginnings.

 

2. Hewlett-Packard

In 1939, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started their two-person operation out of a rented one-car garage on Addison Avenue, California. Through a series of inventive prototypes – including medical machines, astronomy devices and an electric eye for automatic toilet flushing – they got their breakthrough with an audio oscillator for sound engineers, which they sold to Disney for their now-classic film, Fantasia. With new confidence, they formalised their partnership and, one year and two new employees later, they finally outgrew their garage and moved into a new headquarters. Today, the original HP garage is both a tourist attraction and an official historic landmark.

 

3. The Walt Disney Company

In 1923, Walt Disney left his career as an advertising cartoonist in Kansas City to move to Hollywood, reportedly with nothing more than $40 and his drawing materials. Together with his brother, Roy, they borrowed $500 and built a camera stand in their uncle’s garage to work on their animation. Under the guise of ‘The Disney Brothers Studio’ they filmed the Alice Comedies, which would later become the inspiration for the full-length Alice in Wonderland film.

Of course, they didn’t stay in their uncle’s garage for too long. Almost a hundred years later, the Disney brand is on the tip of every youngster’s tongue, and is estimated to be worth more than US$100 billion.

 

4. Harley-Davidson

In 1901, William S. Harley created the blueprints for a motor engine designed to fit into a bicycle. In 1903, Harley and Arthur Davidson released their first motorcycle to the public – from a ‘factory’ that was in fact a 15-foot wooden shed. And it served them well. It wasn’t until three years later – well after they’d opened their first dealership – that they moved into a newer, larger factory and started hiring extra employees.

Today, of course, their brand is globally synonymous with motorcycles themselves, and it’s grown to become a universally cherished multi-billion-dollar enterprise.

 

5. Google

In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, after spending two years collaborating on a new search engine, finally incorporated their company. And, naturally, to mark their historic entrance into the official world of big business, they set up a workspace in someone else’s garage. They hired their first employee while still operating out of a rented parking space, and swiftly went on to revolutionize the way the entire world found its information.

In 2006, to celebrate its eighth birthday – and as a poetic tip of the hat to its meager origins – Google decided to buy the property that had housed them in their early days, from an owner who by that time had become their vice president of product management. According to Google, their first ever workplace “offered several big advantages, including a washer and a dryer and a hot tub”, and also “provided a parking space” for the company’s first employee.

 

Katerina Manou Regional General Manager- Balkans at Regus comments: “If there’s one thing to take away from these stories of exponential growth and hard-won success, it’s that big ideas, big profits and big dreams don’t always need a big place to start out from. So if your ambitions are still bigger than your budget, take a look at some affordable, flexible spaces for getting your best work done”.

Regus is the world’s largest provider of workspace, with customers including some of the most successful, entrepreneurs, individuals and multi-million dollar corporations.

Our network of 2,600 locations in 106 countries encompasses 43 million square feet of the world’s leading locations, offering convenient, high-quality, fully serviced spaces for people to work, whether for a few minutes or a few years. Companies like Google, Toshiba and GlaxoSmithKline choose Regus so that they can work flexibly and make their businesses more successful as they grow around the world.

The key to flexible working is convenience and so Regus is open wherever our 2.1 million members need support – city centres, suburban districts, shopping centres and retail outlets, railway stations, universities, motorway service stations and even community centres. With brands including Regus, Regus Express, Signature Group, Open Office, Spaces and Kora within our group, there is something for every business need, from traditional offices to vibrant creative environments that foster creative thinking and collaboration.

Founded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1989, Regus is based in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, please visit www.regus.com

In Cyprus, Regus operates in Nicosia (Jacovides Tower 1st, 5th Floors, 81-83 Grivas Digenis Ave), Limassol (Victory House, 205, Archbishop Makarios Avenue) and quite soon in Larnaca.

Founded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1989, Regus is based in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, please visit: www.regus.com.cy  or call us at +357 22 503 000.


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