When you think of companies getting their start in a basement, chances are you think of companies that started a long time ago. Surely, in today’s world, companies are moving more toward professionalism and offices, right? In fact, the opposite may very well be true. In the age of entrepreneurship and the internet, more people than ever are choosing to use their homes as their offices. Take a look at this list of companies that started in a basement, then consider the ones that got their start fairly recently.
A cloud-based accounting software seems almost like a no-brainer to many small businesses; in today’s world, it’s almost a necessity for many individuals. However, at its founding in 2004, it was functioning in an incredibly specific niche. This niche was so specific that founder Mike McDerment only had 10 customers and had to work out of his parents’ basement to keep operating costs low. Today, however, FreshBooks boasts a user count of over five million, invoicing over $8 billion yearly with all invoices combined.
Mashable is a success story on a number of axes. It started out when Pete Cashmore was 19, blogging from his parents’ basement in northern Scotland. However, he wanted to blog for an American audience. To achieve this, he adjusted his sleep schedule, darkening the basement and sleeping from around 6 a.m. to late afternoon. He maintained this sleep and blogging schedule for 18 months, and his hard work earned him two million monthly readers. Today, it maintains a valuation of $50 million.
2012: Bold Commerce
There are many e-commerce stores out there, but how many of them are utilizing e-commerce strategies to their maximum value? Bold Commerce wants to make things easier for you in this way. It got its start in 2012, and the early offices largely centered around the basements of its co-founders’ homes. That included a basement with only moisture barrier sheeting, an unfinished basement, and a fully finished basement. This hard work in various basements led to Bold Commerce’s current valuation of $16.5 million.
2012: Cards Against Humanity
The idea of Cards Against Humanity came from a “party for misfits” the company’s founders were hoping to host. To entertain guests, they needed a party game they could play with up to around 40 people. The first set of questions started in a school notebook, then a Microsoft Word document. Max Temkin’s parent’s basement hosted the first-ever game, and he recalled it to be enough fun that they wanted to keep working on the concept. By 2012, Cards Against Humanity had already reached $12 million in revenue.
Although RXbar is a national trend nowadays, that’s not remotely what the brand started as. Founders Peter Rahal and Jared Smith were utilizing Rahal’s parents’ basement and kitchen to create the first RXbar products, and they intended to sell bars directly to local CrossFit franchises. Initial products had only DIY labels that the founders made in PowerPoint, and they kept their inventory in plastic containers. Once the bar took off, Kellogg’s bought the company for $600 million.
2016: Boolean Girl Tech
This 2016 Kickstarter campaign encouraged teen and adolescent girls to understand that science was a great option for anyone, regardless of gender. This message resonated with a lot of people — so many people, in fact, that the co-founders of the company received substantially more backers than they were expecting. How could they possibly fulfill all the orders they had received through Kickstarter? Co-founder Ingrid Sanden decided to hire some of her 16-year-old daughter’s friends and make an assembly line in the basement, which worked perfectly.
Basements aren’t just for companies that got their start decades ago. Plenty of brand-new companies in the 21st century are utilizing basements as a great place to start out. However, to do this, you need to make sure that you have a high-quality basement that’s well-maintained. Put some money into keeping your basement well-maintained; you never know when it’ll be the place you come up with the next billion-dollar idea.
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