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Businesses That Started In A Garage: Google

It’s time for the fourth addition to our series highlighting big businesses that got their start in a sturdy garage. Start with a creative vision, mix in some persistent individuals with a dream and a humble garage, and you have a recipe for success! The business in the spotlight today is Google. If you ever thought that starting a business in your garage is small potatoes, then today’s story will certainly change your mind.

The Story Begins

The year: 1995. The place: Stanford University. The future founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, met at the university by chance. Page was a visitor touring the university as a potential graduate student, and Brin was the student designated to give him the tour. The story goes that when these two men met, they had a lot of disagreements and maybe even some ruffled feathers. But by the next year, they’d formed a partnership with the goal of creating a tool that organized and ranked Web pages. Page and Brin started their work in their dorm rooms but quickly found they needed another type of space for their venture.

Google’s Garage

When you’re creating a search engine that organizes information from all over the world and makes it accessible to the average person, you need your own space. So in 1998, when Page and Brin got their initial investment of $100,000 from Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, a fellow Stanford alum, they moved their venture to the suburban garage of a home in Menlo Park, California. The owner of the garage and their new landlord was a woman named Susan Wojcicki. Page and Brin hauled desktop computers and a ping-pong table into the garage, and Wojcicki put a blue rug down on the garage floor to make the space more inviting. The garage afforded Page and Brin the space, privacy, and thinking room they needed to continue to build their search engine.

Google Grows

Page and Brin’s company gained a lot of attention from investors in a short amount of time. Google was incorporated in the autumn of 1998. From there, Google received $25 million in venture capital. This prompted Page and Brin to pack up their work and move their headquarters to an office in Palo Alto, alongside eight employees and an office dog, Yoshka. But within a year, the growing company needed even more space, so they moved to Mountain View, where Google is still headquartered today.

Fun Facts

  • The first name of the company was Backrub. It was soon changed to Google, a play on the math term googol.
  • Wojcicki became the 16th employee of Google, and she now serves as the CEO of YouTube.
  • Google celebrates its birthday on Sept. 27 every year, but nobody knows why, not even Brin and Page: The company was incorporated on Sept. 4, 1998.
  • Google hosted its 15th birthday celebration in the garage where it all started.

Today, billions of people use Google products, and their search engine is the most popular in the world by far. See? A garage can be an ideal place to bring an ambitious idea or plan to life. Just ask Larry Page and Sergey Brin! Thanks for reading. – Alan

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