Go Inside The Garages, Dorm Rooms, And Coffee Shops Where Tech's Biggest Companies Got Their Starts

Box garageTwitter, @levieBox’s first office was a garage that Aaron Levie also used as a bedroom.

Even the most successful tech companies had to start somewhere.

Many companies that are now worth billions were launched from makeshift headquarters in relatives’ garages and living rooms.

Others were started in dorm rooms and coffee shops, where young coders could make use of the free Wi-Fi and plentiful caffeine.

The tech world is filled with interesting founding stories — we’ve rounded up some of the best ones here.

Hewlett-Packard famously began in a Palo Alto garage.

Starting your company in a garage has become something of a tradition in the tech world. HP was the first, officially launching at the beginning of 1939.

The garage and the house it's connected to are now a private museum, considered by many to be the 'birthplace of Silicon Valley.'

Steve Jobs built the first Apple computer in his parents' Silicon Valley home.

Steve Jobs grew up in this ranch-style home in Los Altos. In 1976, he and Steve Wozniak used the garage to assembled the first 50 Apple computers, which they then sold to Paul Terrell's Byte Shop for $US500 each.

The Los Altos Historical Commission has designated the house a 'historic resource,' which means that any future renovations will need to be approved by the city.

Google also started in a garage.

In the winter of 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin paid Susan Wojcicki $US1,700 a month to work out of the garage in her Menlo Park home. They were still students at Stanford at the time.

Brin later married Wojcicki's sister Anne, though the couple recently separated.

Jeff Bezos chose this house to launch Amazon because it had a garage.

Bezos and his wife MacKenzie moved to this house in Seattle in 1995. They reportedly chose this three-bedroom rental because Bezos wanted to be able to say his company began in a garage, just like HP and the many companies that followed.

Amazon was launched on July 16, 1995 from the Bezos' home, which cost them only $US890 a month to rent.

Box started in a USC dorm room, then moved on to a garage.

Aaron Levie started working on Box when he was still a student at the University of Southern California. The team later moved to a family member's garage, then to their own rental house.

Levie shared this photo of the team's first office in Silicon Valley, where he slept in the garage.

Facebook was founded in a Harvard dorm.

Mark Zuckerberg famously came up with the idea for Facebook in his dorm room at Kirkland House, on Harvard's campus.

While living in Kirkland, he also came up with the idea for Facemash, a kind of hot-or-not rating app that almost got him kicked out of Harvard.

'The Kirkland facebook is open on my computer desktop and some of these people have pretty horrendous facebook pics,' he wrote in a now notorious journal entry. 'I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive.'

Dell also started in a dorm room.

During the one year he spent as a pre-med student at the University of Texas at Austin, Michael Dell spent his spare time upgrading PCs and selling them from his dorm room. He made $US180,000 in his first month of business.

Though he never came back for his sophomore year of classes, he returned to his dorm for a photo opp in 1999.

Microsoft's Bill Gates and Paul Allen spent the early days of Microsoft at this motel in Albuquerque.

In 1977, Gates and Allen moved to New Mexico, where they developed a basic programming language for a company called MITS.

The Sundowner Motel, located just off Route 66, served as a home base for the pair before they moved their fast-growing company to Seattle.

Though the motel fell into disrepair in the '80s, becoming a hot bed for prostitution and drug use, it's considered by some to be an important part of computing history. It has since been converted into an affordable housing complex.

The idea for Twitter was born in a San Francisco park.

Though it would take some time for the team to develop the concept further, Jack Dorsey first shared the idea for Twitter at San Francisco's South Park. He would later found the company with friends Evan Williams and Biz Stone.

'On that playground right up there is where I first brought up the idea,' Dorsey told CNBC for its 'Twitter Revolution' documentary. 'And then we brought it back to the company (Odeo) and demoed it. We wanted to see everything that was happening. Not just where people were but what they were doing. I wanted to be able to see the world in real time.'

PayPal was funded at a restaurant in Woodside, California.

Buck's of Woodside has long been a favourite for Silicon Valley VCs and entrepreneurs. It was here that representatives from Nokia Ventures and Deutsche Bank famously used a Palm Pilot and the new PayPal technology to 'beam' $US4.5 million in funding to the company.

Max Levchin had spent the previous 72 hours coding to prepare for the demo, and he soon fell asleep on one of the Buck's tables.

Netscape, Hotmail, and Tesla also had some of their earliest meetings at this restaurant.

Foursquare's code was written at coffee shops in New York City.

Foursquare cofounders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai built half of the site's original prototype at the OST Cafe in the East Village, and the other half at the NoHo outpost of Think Coffee.

They spent most of their time at a table in the back corner of Think Coffee. The two spent so much time there, in fact, that their friend Chad began poking fun at them -- and thus, Foursquare's 'mayor' feature was born.

Drew Houston came up with the idea for Dropbox in a bus station.

Houston was a recent MIT grad looking to get some work done on his bus ride from Boston to New York City. When he realised he forgot his USB drive, he got so frustrated that he immediately started working on technology to sync files over the Internet.

Four months later, he was flying to San Francisco to pitch his idea to Paul Graham of Y Combinator.

The idea for Yelp was born over lunch at a San Francisco restaurant.

According to Max Levchin, current Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and cofounder Russel Simmons came up with the idea for their company while eating lunch at the Slanted Door in the Embarcadero. All three of them had worked at PayPal and lived in a SoMa commune at the time.

'Jeremy and Russ had been talking about doing something with local review or local search and were asking questions like: How do you get your friends to help you find the best plumber or doctor or nicest restaurant close by?' Levchin told the San Francisco Chronicle. 'Over lunch, I could see Russ and Jeremy at the other end of the table just scheming. After lunch, they said they thought they'd figured it out.'

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