There is no better place to kickstart a business than Silicon Valley, no matter the size or the trade. Whether you’re into software, hardware, AI, IT, rocket tech (or rocket science), social media, telecommunication, TV, or even videogames, Silicon Valley is the place for you. Adobe, Apple, Applied Materials, Asus, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Google, HP, Intel, Intuit, LinkedIn (now a Microsoft asset), Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Netflix, Nvidia, OpenAI, SolarCITY, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, Twitter, Uber, Yahoo! and YouTube… all these companies (and many more) were started in Silicon Valley, where they continue to prosper. Should you wish to follow in their footsteps, the 10 businesses below are among the most inspiring ones around!
Founded in April, 1976, Apple is now one of the most famous Silicon Valley companies of all time and its founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne are each icons and legends of their trade. Apple is known for having started in the proverbial startup garage to become one of the highest grossing companies in the world and a synonym of good design and efficiency.
Apple’s most recognizable products include the Apple smartwatch, iPad tablet computer, iPhone smartphone, iPod portable music device and the Mac personal computer.
The leader in the videogames market, Electronic Arts is one of the most innovative (and most aggressive) companies around. Their portfolio includes a sheer number of AAA titles and game franchises. This list includes Command&Conquer, Dead Space, Dragon Age, FIFA, Mass Effect, Medal of Honor, and The Sims.
Electronic Arts is known for their (semi-hostile) brand acquisitions and partnerships. The videogame press often accuses the company of maximizing profits over product quality.
There’s no need to introduce it. Since founding in 2004, Facebook has become one of the world’s most important platforms for communication and, certainly, its the most popular social media site. Hundreds of millions of people use it every day to contact their relatives, family and significant others, as well to work, relax, strike various business deals, or even just look at various info, news, and articles. The possibilities seem endless and virtually limitless – and so does Facebook’s expansion and annual revenue.
Google.com might be the most popular search engine ever created (and — thus — the most popular page on the whole Internet), but there’s much, much more to the company behind it. The company — one of the most innovative hardware/software engineering companies around — is constantly striving to better its products and come out with new ideas,. Google’s most innovative projects, products and services include the Google Chrome browser, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, Google Fiber, Google Glass, Google+, Google AMP, and DeepDream (not to mention all the others). With an estimated value of $133 billion in 2016, Google seems ready to tackle the future, complete with all of its threats and opportunities.
Another giant that needs no introduction, Microsoft made it big when it came up with its first OS, Windows 1.0, in 1985. Each new version built on this, and, despite the criticism (as Windows is often accused of being buggy and unstable in comparison with other OS options), Microsoft has successfully monopolized its trade, becoming the single most recognized IT brand in the world and making its founder, Bill Gates, the wealthiest person around (for a time). Unfortunately, this success came at a price: Microsoft has earned itself an opinion as as a cut-throat company, one that will not hesitate to use the most unfair business practices to root out its competitors. Although Microsoft’s public relations specialists have done a lot to improve this image, the company’s policy shows no sign of improvement and, so, the bad press remains persistent.
Netflix is one of America’s — if not the world’s — premium entertainment companies. It specializes primarily in streaming media and video-on-demand services, providing its subscribers with a vast scope of series, films and documentaries, some of them being original exclusives.
Although Netflix has operated since 1997, it became widely known outside the U.S in the 2010s, when its original series, dubbed Netflix Originals, gained widespread recognition. The Originals include highly popular series such as Bloodline, House of Cards, Narcos, Orange is the New Black, Sense8, Stranger Things, etc.
When on September 27, 2016 Elon Musk announced that the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX, for short) plans to establish the first extraterrestrial colony on Mars — and to establish it by 2025! — the entire business press went crazy. There was no way to open a business-related magazine or newspaper and not see a piece on Elon Musk or one of his companies. (Apart form SpaceX, the list includes Hyperloop, OpenAI, PayPal, SolarCity and Tesla Motors.) Now that the emotions have settled, one can’t help but wonder: was it all for real? Or was it a well-designed (an absurdly well-designed, at that) attempt at promotion?
Whatever the case may be, SpaceX remains one of the world’s largest and most innovative rocket manufacturers and a truly inspiring example for all beginning entrepreneurs: proof that nothing is impossible in Silicon Valley. Not even a science-fiction scenario.
Another of Elon Musk’s famous companies, Tesla Motors produces electric cars. It also invests heavily in researching ways to produce and store environmentally-friendly energy. Tesla Motors is also known for its very innovative approach to promotion and marketing: for a time, it used to invest in none whatsoever, the only factor contributing to its popularity being the quality of its products (that is, its electric cars).
Another supposedly cut-throat company, Uber is the new taxi, or rather, as the company claims, an online platform for hiring various forms of transport. You simply install a mobile app, enter some information and then it’s open and ready to use. The app allows you to hire a taxi, see its exact position on the map, the estimated time of arrival and the price rate (which is calculated depending on the demand in the area). Prices are not set, as Uber uses its own innovative price calculation system. Although that usually makes it cheaper, the prices are known to spike sometimes (due to very high demand).
Uber is often criticized for its approach towards its workers (which, in fact, are contractors). Various taxi companies have also organized protests against it, claiming that the business is based on exploiting legal loopholes.
The world’s most popular video content hosting platform did indeed start off rather small. Founded in 2005, it has grown to become one of the highest-grossing websites ever, becoming a platform for video-sharing for all prominent media services (this includes news services such as BBC, CNBC, or CNN). The site allows users to upload, view, rate, share, add to favorites, report and comment on videos, as well as subscribing to other users’ channels. Hundreds of millions of people visit YouTube each hour to watch video materials and follow their favorite channels, helping the most popular YouTubers make millions each year, becoming a model example of a successful Generation Y self-made entrepreneur and inspiring thousands of others to follow in these footsteps.