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3 Businesses You Would Be Surprised to Know Began as Startups

When you’re in the thick of building your small business, when you’re feeling stressed and tired, it can be difficult to imagine the day when everything falls into place.

But that’s why you started your business; you saw in your mind’s eye a thriving company that could transform the industry as you knew it. You can be proud of yourself knowing that you are working to achieve your dream and to help affect change.

Of course, to help make your journey a little easier, you’ll need the inspiration and tools. Hiring the right staff, using the right equipment and investing in startup business insurance will help you put your company on the map. But when you’re having an off day and feeling like you can barely keep your head above water, it’s hard to be upbeat.

Here are three startup success stories (no, they’re not about Apple, Disney or Microsoft) to remind of you why you started your business in the first place: to do something new, something different and something positive.


Every startup, even startups with seemingly out-there ideas, can find success. Take Rover for example.

A Seattle-based dog-sitting platform, Rover was a project born at a Startup Weekend event back in 2011. Fast forward six years: Rover is working to become a “potential billion-dollar company that is gearing up for an IPO,” reports GeekWire.

The platform gives dog owners a way to hire a “pupsitter” so they can go away on vacation or leave for a weekend. Aaron Easterly, Rover’s CEO, tells GeekWire that he believes his company will be profitable by the end of this year. Given that the company has received funding of over $90 million, it’s safe to say that this startup is going places.


ModCloth’s founder Susan Gregg Koger was only 17-years-old when she started selling vintage clothes online to make a few extra bucks as a college student. Taking her passion for thrifting, Koger wanted to bring her thrifting experience to e-commerce, where clothes lovers like her could find their next velvet vest or pair of fur-lined suede boots.

Fifteen years later, Susan now runs a company with 500 employees with an earning power of $100 million in annual revenue. Susan admits herself that despite being in the business for over a decade, she still has misgivings. “No one has it figured out. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned in my career. … It’s a freeing thing when you are just getting started to have that knowledge that you never really figure it out.”

Lesson learned: Big things can come out of small ventures.

The Onion

The originator of Fake News, The Onion began as a mock newspaper featuring stories about politicians, celebrities and the average Joe, all of which were untrue. To get an understanding of the satirical site’s writing, take a look here.

Realizing that people were losing interest in print newspaper, The Onion redesigned its website and made their “news stories” readily accessible (and post-worthy) online. Chances are you’ve seen a relative or two post an article believing it’s true.

Satire wins big. In 2016, 40 percent of the satirical news site was worth more than the Washington Post, earning $200 million in a sale.

Every company, even the most profitable, faces struggles. Don’t let it deter you from working to realize your dream of small business ownership. For more SMB highlights and information on startup business insurance, visit CoverHound!

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Insurance shopping simplified

Review personalized quotes, select coverages, and buy online - Everything insurance, all-in-one-place.

Insurance shopping simplified

Review personalized quotes, select coverages, and buy online - Everything insurance, all-in-one-place.
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