Business Inspiration: From Local Startups to Million Dollar Businesses

January 8, 2021 Business, Startups

The biggest and most innovative companies had to start somewhere, right? If they managed to do so, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to make your startup a success. Whether you’ve quit your 9-to-5 job and started your own business, or you’ve started a side hustle, you’re on the right way. Perhaps the only thing you need is a little bit of inspiration to continue to invest time and effort into it. If that’s the case, you’re at the right place. We bring to you five million dollar businesses that start as local startups.


There’s hardly a person out there who doesn’t know about Craigslist. This go-to site for anyone looking for a job, housing, items and more has been around for more than 20 years. But how did it all start? When the founder, Craig Newmark arrived in San Francisco in the 90s, he wanted to come up with a list of events to help him meet influential people. It didn’t take long before other people realized just helpful this list was and they started using it for more than just meetups. Newmark then quit his job and turned his list into one of the biggest sites on the web. The company is now worth at least $3 billion.


Back in the 1990s, Lynda Weinman was working as a web design teacher. She realized that the technical books her students were working with weren’t as helpful as she’d want. Therefore, she decided to make a guide of her own. Instead of writing a book, she began producing training films for her students. The videos tuned out to be extremely helpful and Lynda decided to take it to the next level. For the next two decades, she worked on building a content library budding web designers can learn from. The startup really hit it off. In fact, the company was so successful Weinman was able to sell it to LinkedIn in a $1.5 billion deal.


Short-term rentals were already a thing when Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia started Airbnb. However, the way they launched their startup really propelled it to success. Chesky and Gebbia, housemates at the time, struggled to pay their rent and wanted to make some extra cash. They decided to turn their loft into a lodging space and designed a website where they posted pictures of it. Soon after, their first customers showed up when a nearby convention was taking place. People immediately fell in love with their site and they wanted it available across the world. The two saw the opportunity to take their startup global and that’s when it really hit off. Today, Airbnb is available in over 220 countries and the number of users continues to increase.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC is one of the biggest fast food brands of today. When Colonel Harland Sanders created the brand, it was a startup project of his own. Before he brought KFC to life, Sanders worked on a farm and as a fireman. Initially, he started preparing meals for his family and soon started selling them to travelers who’re taking a break from the road. After some time, he managed to start his own restaurant – Sanders’ Café. He eventually sold it and used the money to franchise his Kentucky fried chicken. Fast forward to 2020 and KFC has over 22,000 locations in 150 countries.


Igor Salindrija was working as a night bartender in a casino when he figured out that the web needs a site that promotes online casinos. It didn’t take him long to quit his job as a bartender and fully focus on developing AskGamblers – an iGaming portal of his own. This Serbian startup was an immediate hit and is now one of the leading sites in the sector. Salindrija eventually sold the startup to Maltese Catena Media in a EUR 15 million deal. The site does an amazing job of posting iGaming reviews and helping players find online casinos to play at. With the way things are at the moment, the company will only continue to grow.


For years, professionals have been using email to communicate with one another. 7 years ago, Slack was introduced and the way they manage work has been changed for good. But how did Slack come to life? Well, the founder Stewart Butterfield had just sold his first major project – Flickr and he wanted to work on his own video game. His team got right on to work but they realized they’re missing a quality collaboration tool so they decided to design it themselves. They ended up creating a tool that is now a part of every project management kit. All Butterfield did was follow his dream of creating a video game and things turned out even better than expected.

The bottom line

All the people we talked about in this post have one thing in common – they had a business idea and they worked hard to make it reality. So, if you want to experience success the same way, now’s your chance. Put enough time and effort into your startup and you might be like enough to see it go global.