4 Tech Companies Who Started on a Noob’s Budget

If you’re dreaming of owning a large corporation someday, don’t think that you need large amounts of money. In fact, some of the most successful tech companies started on a small amount of cash. Some even started in a basement, or a garage.

Sure, you dream big, but it takes years to build a successful corporation. If you think about it, who cares where you start? It’s all about where you are going.

Here are 4 tech companies that started on a tiny budget.


Apple Store in Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Apple Store in Scottsdale, AZ, USA – photo credit

Come on, who hasn’t seen that awesome mouse Steve Jobs made that looks like a shoebox? If you have to start a company in a garage, that’s pretty cheap right there. In 1976, partners Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple computers. Jobs ordered the parts himself. Together, they hand built their first computers.

Nowadays, Apple is one of the largest companies in the world.


GitHub logo
GitHub office – photo credit

This was started as a weekend project, where the founders would meet at a local sports bar for programming meetups. GitHub allows developers to share code, host for projects and provide plans for private projects.

All they paid for initially was domain hosting, some stock art and Slicehost hosting. They also put in a few hundred dollars for legal fees so they could become a legit company. By December 19, 2012, GitHub had more than 2.8 million users.


Airbnb homepage
Rent a room in a British tower home, anyone?

Founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia launched the company in 2008. The idea is that people could rent out their extra space to travelers and visitors. Think of it as social media meets travel accommodations.

With a simple website and a few (in their opinion) shoddy photos of possible places, Airbnb was born. In 4 years, they managed to have over 2 million listings. These listings were spread out over 192 countries. More than 1 million users use their service and they are thought to have an estimated value of over 2.5 billion dollars.


Instagram app
Instagram app on a smartphone – photo credit

How did a company that was purchased by Facebook for a sizeable amount of cash start? Pretty small. Founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger had no marketing budget when they launched their app. Even more impressive was their work space. They had rented a $500/month desk from Dogpatch Labs in 2010, and the building was unstable, forcing tenants to move within a year. Instagram grew to have over 100 million users when it was brought in to the Android and Google Play market. They basically relied on their fans and loyal members to spread the word about their app. Today, they have over 10 million users, and that number is growing by the minute.

So, even if you don’t have a lot of money to start a company, don’t despair. With hard work and a lot of faith, you too can have similar success these bootstrappers did. Just be prepared for long nights and extra shots of espresso in your lattes.

About the Author: Ilan Nass is the Lead Marketing Strategist at Fueled, the world’s premier development and strategy firm specializing in creating Android and iPhone apps.