Success from home: Five famous start-ups that started as a home business

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Running a business from home can seem like a world away from the well-known brands that we all know and love – but you’d be surprised just how many big names started off as home businesses. We thought we’d share five of our favourite start-ups to help inspire today’s entrepreneurs as they prepare to start another year running their business from home.


One of the most successful startups of the past five years, Airbnb was started by two flatmates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky who needed a smart idea to help pay the rent. They came up with the genius idea of offering sleeping space and breakfast at their apartment to conference delegates via a blog – and Airbnb was born. From those humble beginnings, Airbnb has become an international sensation and is now valued at around $10 billion.

Apple Garage The Californian home where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple
Image by Mathieu Thouvenin


Today it enjoys the kind of success and ubiquity tech startups can only dream of, but in 1976, Apple was a two-man startup operating out of Steve Wozniak’s garage after he and Steve Jobs managed to secure an order for 50 home computers. From that small seed, one of the biggest brands of the digital age came to fruition.

Levi Roots

Before appearing on the TV show Dragons Den and achieving supermarket success, Levi Roots used to make his Jamaican style spicy sauce in the kitchen at his home in Brixton before selling them on a bag he carried with him and at the Notting Hill Carnival. From those humble beginnings, Levi’s brand has become a staple of British supermarkets – and even made an appearance as part of a KFC chicken meal.


One of the UK’s best-loved sauce and chutney brands, Patak’s started out in the Pathak family kitchen, where founder L.G. Pathak and his wife supplemented their income by making and selling Indian sweets. The tasty treats became popular enough for them to start a shop and eventually the range of Indian pickles and sauces that has made its way into most British homes was born.

The Cambridge Satchel Company

The Cambridge Satchel Company was launched by Julie Deane in her kitchen in 2008. Back then, she had a £600 budget and her mum to help her out. Today, the company has over 70 employees and the satchels are a must-have fashion accessory beloved by bag fans all over the world.

From the businesses listed above we can see that they all started out small but grew into bigger businesses with a clear business offering. It is vital for customers to communicate with home businesses and for that experience to be on par with the more established competitors, allowing customers to feel secure with your offering. Vonage can help small businesses starting out with a fully adjustable telephony communications systems package that will grow with your business – this allows you to confidently communicate with your customers at every stage of your growth.

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