Simple Websites That Turned Into BILLION Dollar Business

August 6, 1991 CERN, the first ever web page
went live. This website contained information on the World Wide Web project and just what
the heck this web thing was all about. That would be the first cog in the internet machine.
It’s difficult to image a time period when a business or service didn’t have an internet
equivalent. We seem to be in the midst of a web startup resurgence similar to the Dot-com
bubble that ran roughly from 1995 to 2002. The web based startup cataloger AngelList
cites over 4.5 Million companies in various stages of development looking for everything
from employment to procuring seed funding. According to Internet Live Stats there are
over 1.5 billion registered websites with about 200 million active sites. That’s a
long way to come in 27 years. Hello and welcome to another episode of The Infographics Show,
today we’re going to look at which websites started as simple hobby projects, and turned
into a multi billion dollar business. Starting at Number 15, This North
California company was founded by a finance executive Steven Boal in 1998. Boal wanted
to to simplify the traditional coupon ritual he observed during his father-in-law’s journey
to the front porch for the sunday paper. He would take the paper to the kitchen table
where he would go to work with scissors in hand to collect the days coupons. Boal met
with a former colleague over coffee to map on a paper napkin in pencil what would become
the blueprint Coupons are often considered a form of currency, therefore manufacturers
require strict security and print limits before a digital coupon can be seen as valid. Boal
worked tirelessly for three years collaborating with manufacturers to allow digital coupons
into circulation. It finally paid off with the first digital coupon going live on April
of 2001. Eight years later would come to account for half of the redeemed coupons
in the United States compared to the tradition coupons found in Sunday newspapers; offering
digital coupons for over 2,000 brands including everything from Coca-cola, to Dove, to Hasbro.’s estimated value had reached 1 billion in 2011, proving there’s always
a market for people looking to save money on daily purchases. Number 14, Estimated at a
networth around $1.2 Billion. Draftkings was established by former Vistaprint Employees
who operated out of their own homes to produce a one-on-one baseball competition to coincide
with 2012s opening day for Major League Baseball. The company quickly raised millions of dollars
from venture capital firms and outside investors. By 2014 the company reported awarding $50
million in prizes for the year 2013, quickly turning it into the second largest company
in daily fantasy sports. ESPN and FOX Sports took a gamble on the company by entering an
advertising deal only to have ESPN back out a year later due to legal uncertainties surrounding
the service. As for Draftkings, it seems like they have been placing all the right bets
to become a success. Number 13, BuzzFeed. Originally a small side
arm of the Huffington Post in 2006 utilizing an algorithm with no actual writers or editors
to cull stories from around the world that were “showing stirrings of virality”-
or in other words articles that could be passed around generating “buzz”. BuzzFeed has
been developed into several branches including BuzzFeed News, BuzzFeed Video, and other various
video projects. With even us indulging in their infamous quizzes, it’s easy to see
how BuzzFeed became a $1.5 Billion Dollar company. Number 12. Squarespace. Successfully building
itself as the most accessible site-creation tool for anyone to use. Squarespace has made
a true name for itself hosting more than one million websites as of 2016 and being valued
at $1.7 Billion. It was originally created in 2003 for personal use by founder Anthony
Casalena while attending the University of Maryland. Casalena was the sole employee and
received funding from his father plus grants from the University Incubator Program.
was essentially created out of a dorm room. Squarespace has bought advertisements at the
Superbowl every year since 2015, and their logo is featured prominently on the uniforms
of the New York Knicks. There is a good chance that if any of these startup companies were
created today, they’d be looking to squarespace for their website. Number 11. Blue Apron. Founders Matt Salzberg
and Ilia Papas left their Silicon Valley Venture Firm to create a startup company. Trying several
ideas and raising funds from family and friends, they eventually landed on a seemingly simple
idea: Make chef recommended recipes seeming effortless to recreate, by providing pre-measured
ingredients and locally procured food. The two set out to create a sustaining model of
working with local farmers and completing shipments within 24 hours of order to make
the meal as fresh as can be. Beginning in a small commercial kitchen out of Queens,
New York, the first 30 orders were prepared, a courier was then hired to mail these orders
across Manhattan. Occasionally running low on ingredients, the founders would have to
run to the local grocery store to complete the order. Even though customers have been
in a decline due to some controversies, Blue Apron is still holding strong with a value
of $2 Billion dollars. Number 10. Paypal. In the 19 years of Paypal’s
operation, it has rose to prominence as the go to money transfer service for small business
and most online shopping. Originally created by a security software company, Confinity,
as a money transfer service to pay their employees, it was Elon Musk himself, who in 2000, as
head of, merged with Confinity to drop all other banking services and solely focus
on Paypal. eBay purchased the money transfer company in 2002 for $1.5 billion with 70 percent
of eBay auctions accepting Paypal payments. Currently Paypal has upwards of 244 million
active users without ever needing to advertise. Number 9. Spotify. This swedish music streaming
service named after a misheard word shouted at the founders, was later figured to be a
combination between “spot” and “Identify”. Now holding 191 million daily users with 87
million of them as paying subscribers and a estimated value at $3 billion dollars, it’s
made streaming the most popular way to listen to music. Founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon
may have started their billion dollar streaming platform by sharing mp3 music files between
their computers, but their intentions where to always break away from illegal methods
of music distribution on the internet. Though the site has received criticism for its treatment
of artists, record companies knew they had to open their catalogues if they wanted to
lessen the impact of music piracy on their sales. In exchange, Ek and Lorentzon had to
provide 20 percent of their company to the record labels. Spotify has paid billions to
rights owners as a reminder that some pay is better than the alternative of piracy.
Launching in 2008, Spotify brings sweet music to the ears of millions for over a decade. Number 8. Credit Karma. Don’t let the free
credit report aspect fool you, Credit Karma has earned itself an impressive $4 Billion
dollar value. Founder and CEO Kenneth Lin, a Chinese immigrant with a background working
for consumer credit, felt that people should have free access to their credit and financial
data. He founded the service in 2007 creating a simple homepage where customers could only
submit their email addresses… and that’s about it. Lin knew in order to show interest
in his site he had to gain prospective members even ahead of the beta. The 2008 economic
recession hit the company hard, stagnating growth for over a year. By the time the site
was hitting a million members the company itself was only being sustained by around
five people with one engineer manning the entire backend. The growth kept rising as
Credit Karma continued to add help features at no cost. They used that money to fund ad
campaigns which utilized employees themselves with little to no acting experience. This
San Francisco Based company has altered the way customers interact with their finances,
empowering them to understand the true impact of their Credit scores. Like the company itself,
small details can lead to big changes. Number 7. eBay. A broken Laser pointer was
the first auction won for $14.83 in 1995. When asked by the Founder why they purchased
a broken item, the Winner replied “I’m a collector of broken laser pointers”, and
thus securing a need for an auction based site where anything can be bid on. By 1998
with 30 employees, the site has generated half a million users with revenues upwards
of $4.7 million. With acquisitions at points of Paypal, Craigslist, Skype, and Stubhub,
eBay has secured itself with a value at $6.2 Billion dollars with little deviation from
its humble beginnings and broken laser pointers for those who wish to bid on them. Number 6. Pinterest. The sheer equity of these
small sites really start to shoot up, with pinterest being estimated at $10.4 Billion.
Being a fairly young site founded in 2009, operating out of a small apartment, the site
grants customers the ability to save images and categorize them on different board, allowing
them to create communities and follow other users. Nine months later, the website had
generated 10 thousand users. The early popular categories involved home, arts and crafts,
style/fashion, and food. By 2016 Pinterest had generated 150 million active users with
70 million being in the United States alone. The interest in pinning pictures doesn’t
seem to be dying anytime soon with expansion still growing throughout the world. Number 5. Twitter. 335 million active users
make up this $11 billion dollar messaging site. The site originally stemmed from a brainstorming
session for the company Odeo, in what was suppose to be a platform for podcasts. After
apple launched their podcast platform with Itunes, founders Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass,
Christopher Stone, and Even Williams decided to make something else entirely. The domain
for had already been taken by the time the company was founded, so the initial
name branded the social site twttr without the vowels “I” and “E”. The founders
and the previous 14 Odeo employees went to work on the new platform where a text didn’t
just go to one person, but was instead broadcasted to all friends. And with that, the first tweet
went out on march 2006 reading, “just setting up my twttr”. Later, the name was properly
changed to Twitter from the rightful definition of a ‘short burst of inconsequential information’,
as well as the chirping sound a bird makes. Now one of the largest social media apps popularizing
the hashtag, its difficult to find a person who hasn’t sent out a Tweet or two in their
lifetime. Number 4. Air BnB. Founders Brian Chesky and
Joe Gebbia were unable to pay their rent after moving to San Francisco in late 2007. In order
to make up the difference they decided to inflate an air mattress in their livingroom
to create a makeshift Bed n Breakfast. The name stems from this very setup with the Air
in Air BnB standing for the Air inflated bed that laid on their living room floor. The
business was up and running by the next year with their first patrons being overflow from
the Industrial Designers Society of America, who were having difficulties booking hotels
for a conference held in the city. The founders then got creative, making special edition
breakfast cereals with then Presidential candidates Barack Obama as “Obama o’s” and John
McCain for “Cap’n McCains”, being sold for $40 dollars each to generate $30 thousand
for company incubation. This eventually turned into the $29.3 Billion dollar company that
has created the leading room rental service, allowing a host to rent out rooms or entire
houses. Ashton Kutcher and his investment company, A-Grade Investments, put a significant
amount into the company in 2011, helping the growth exponentially. Recently, the company
has announced Air BnB Plus which vetts a collection of homes for quality of services, comfort,
and design as well as Beyond, which will offer luxury vacation rentals which ensures that
regardless of where you go there will be a place for you to stay. Number 3. Instagram. Founded by Kevin Systrom
and Mike Krieger who were big fans of Kentucky whiskeys. This love reflected in their first
iteration of a location-based iphone app name promptly as “Burbn”. The app was built
from the ground up in just a few months with the concept being: Check-in at a location,
make plans for future check-ins, earn “points” for hanging out with friends, and post pictures
from the meet ups. The app however, was not a success. It featured a clunky design and
complicated features. With this failure did come a chance to learn. The creative duo found
that the one successful feature from the defunct Burbn was the app’s photo-sharing capabilities.
This lead to the complete strip down of the app to a basic core feature of taking pictures,
comment on photos, and liking them. They wanted to remain simple but added filters of flare
and variety without overdoing it. On October 12, 2010 Burbn had vanished leaving the app
known as Instagram. Gaining its name as a hybrid between instant camera and telegram,
the app would go on to be purchased by Facebook for $300 million in cash plus an additional
23 million shares of stocks. Currently, Instagram is estimated to be worth over a hundred billion
dollars and has built itself as one of the keystone social networking apps. Number 2. Facebook. While in his second year
at Harvard University in 2003, Mark Zuckerberg found that Havard was lacking a universal
student directory known as a “face book” in an online platform. This would have typically
contained a photo along with some basic information. The university showed dissatisfactory interest
into creating such a directory that Zuckerberg took it upon himself to create Harvard’s Face
Book, which he had claimed that he could accomplish within a week. He quickly got to work on creating
what would be called Thefacebook. Zuckerberg found himself in hot water when accused of
stealing the idea for a similar social network titled He insisted
that it was not theft, but rather a competitive program. Initially being restricted to Harvard
University, more than half the undergraduates at Harvard had registered for the service
within the first month. Zuckerberg assembled a small team of fellow students to help the
expanse to Columbia, Stanford, and Yale with all Ivy League colleges soon following behind.
A year after the creation, Zuckerberg had moved the operation to Palo Alto, California
with ex-Napster founder Sean Parker, who insisted on the dropping of the “the”, This created
what will forever be known as Facebook. With Zuckerberg being the youngest ever self-made
Billionaire at 23 with a net value of $138 billion dollars and over 2 Billion monthly
active users, Facebook has truly changed the social landscape for years to come. And now we come to Number 1. Named after the
biggest river in the world, Jeff Bezos had hopes to make Amazon the biggest bookstore
in the world. Former vice-president of D. E. shaw & Co. Bezos moved to Seattle, Washington
to start what would soon become the third most valuable company in the United States
behind Apple and Microsoft. Bezos worked out of his garage writing his entire business
plan on a cross-continental flight from New York to Seattle. Founding the company in 1994
with a generous $300 thousand investment from his parents, Bezos knew the risk warning many
early investors that there was 70 percent chance of failure or bankruptcy, which nearly
happened in 2002 when rapid spending caused financial distress. He closed many distribution
centers and laid off 14 percent of employees. A year later they had fully recovered, turning
a $400 million profit. Amazon quickly went from a singular online bookstore with the
first sell being Douglas Hofstadter’s mouthful of a title Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies:
Computer Modules of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought, to the online retailer that sells
everything “from A to Z”. In 2018 the company announced that they have reached 100
million Amazon Prime subscribers. From small beginnings of a book retailer to being a company
that earned $177.9 billion in revenue for 2017, makes Amazon the ultimate simple site
to create an empire. It doesn’t take much for a simple idea to
be turned into a multi-billion dollar idea. It appears most companies truly thrive from
filling a unique niche that was otherwise not as available, from coupons, to picture
boards, to a social media juggernaut. It’s unpredictable what companies will be the next
Billion dollar site. Tell us what companies you believe are on the rise, or which ones
you were surprised to make this list in the comments below. If you enjoyed this video
be sure to check out our video 10 Most Dangerous Hackers of All Time, And as always sure to
Like, share, subscribe. See you next time!

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100 thoughts on “Simple Websites That Turned Into BILLION Dollar Business

  1. What should a simple website do to be able to grow into a successful one?
    Which one right now looks promising to be the next one to make it big time?

  2. Haven't watched the video yet but predict facebook will 100% be on it

    Ahaha Haven't finished the video but found facebook number #2

  3. I foresee Spotify eclipsing iTunes someday. I find it much better to pay $10 a month with unlimited access to any song as opposed to buying an album and hoping I like it

  4. In relation to credit karma and other check your credit websites. I would advise people not to use these websites. The reason being is if you have run from debt, the debt companies are given your details so that they can start chasing you again. The websites basically sell your information, that is why they are worth money.

  5. the credit karma section of this video is racist. The eyes of white people are circles, while his are lines. I get that that is a common shorthand in animation for Asians, but it doesn't mean it should be acceptable

  6. # 12 Square space: you guys said : ""and our logo is featered promently on the uniforms of the New York NIks/Nix"" . so you guys are part of square space?????? sorry for the bad english, not a native speaker/writer.

  7. Was feeling that Amazon would be in top 5!! But #1 ✌️
    Thanku The Infographics Show for providing such information and knowledge!! You guys are doing a great job! Keep it up!! 🔥🔥🤟👌

  8. hover over a thing that you want to search in a different tab and press your scroll button… similarly hover over the tab that you want to close and hit the mouse scroll button again

  9. 'Biggest river in the world'?? Rivers are determined by LENGTH you idiots. And the longest river in the world IS NOT THE AMAZON!! This channel is BADLY researched.

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