The Most Interesting Tech Companies That Got Their Start in a Basement
There are plenty of ways to use a basement, and many companies have a part of the “founded in a basement” story. However, there are plenty of tech companies that you may not have known got their start in a basement. Whether it was first conceived in a basement, first created in a basement, or first founded in a basement, here are some interesting companies that started because of a basement
Today, Qualtrics is one of the most widely-used survey tools for academic researchers. However, it wasn’t always like that. In fact, the company started in a basement in Utah when two brothers, Ryan and Jared Smith, decided to create software for academics. Ryan actually convinced his brother to quit his job at Google to help him manage the tech. Now, it’s worth over $11 billion.
In 2004, Mike McDerment created FreshBooks out of his parents’ basement in Toronto. Back then, the idea of “invoicing” was a fairly niche market, so that’s what he chose to focus on. In his first two years, he maintained only 10 customers, each of whom paid $9.99 per month. That grew and changed dramatically over the years; FreshBooks helps customers invoice over $8 billion yearly, and the company’s valuation is now more than $172 million.
The entertainment company Mashable has a story that’s truly about triumph of the human will. Pete Cashmore started it as a blog in his parents’ basement in northern Scotland in 2005. However, he was looking to blog toward an American audience. To make sure American audiences received content during their awake hours, Cashmore used the basement to its maximum effect, using the darkened room to sleep from about 6:00 a.m. until late afternoon. This blogging schedule earned him two million monthly readers in the first 18 months, and now the company has a valuation of $50 million.
This $16.5 million company, which helps entrepreneurs with e-commerce options, started in a basement and had to maintain its basement status for a surprisingly long amount of time, cycling through co-founders’ homes. The company started in Eric Boisjoli’s basement, which had unfinished walls with a moisture barrier sheeting. From there, they moved to Stefan Maynard’s fully finished basement. From there, they had to move to Jayson Myers’s unfinished basement, where they had to be quiet enough not to wake up Myers’s pregnant wife.
Perhaps best known for the hit game Fortnite, Epic Games got its start in 1991 when Tim Sweeney started designing video games in his parents’ basement. 1992 brought the start of computer games proper, and he intended his original business name, “Epic MegaGames,” to make him sound like a well-founded designer. What investors didn’t know is that it was a single person working from the PC in his parents’ house. With its various successes over the years, Epic Games is now worth $15 billion.
Boolean Girl Tech
In 2016, Boolean Girl Tech ran an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign. In fact, it was much more successful than initially intended; the co-founder, Ingrid Sanden, realized she had 60 days to fulfill 180 complex orders. To make sure they could ship everything out in time, Sanden hired some of her 16-year-old daughter’s friends, made an assembly line in the basement, and packaged everything for the Kickstarter.
As you can see, basements aren’t just a great place for an additional person to live. They’re an incredible option for a variety of important things, including but not limited to managing tech companies. Remember that if you want to make your basement a livable option, you should definitely make sure you’re thinking about the condition of the basement. It’s important to put some time and effort into maintaining a basement you’ll spend any amount of time in.