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Before being unicorns, this had to do these startups

Before being companies valued in billions of dollars, and serve as a taxi service for most users with a smartphone or be a hosting platform, firms such as Uber or Airbnb, had to sell boxes of cereal to survive .


Today one of the platforms that is used as an internal communication channel by millions of companies around the world had its origins as a developer of computer games.

Tiny Speck, which is now Slack, was responsible for developing computer games, including Glitch, a multiplayer game that won millions of followers.

The company, which by then had raised millions of dollars from various venture capital funds, including Accel Partners and Andreessen Horowitz, closed in 2012 Glitch and began to develop Slack, a collaborative work platform in time real.

In own words of the CEO Stewart Butterfield, Glitch never was going to be the type of business that justified the lifted investment.

With the adoption of Slack, this company became the startup that achieved a valuation of 1,000 million dollars the fastest.


Today known as Airbnb, the founders of this company once had to sell cereal boxes to finance the company.

While one of the biggest crises shook the United States, in 2008 it was more complicated for companies to turn to investors. One of the companies that faced these problems was AirBed & Breakfast.

In order to finance the operation of the company for a while, co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia devised to design cereal boxes with the caricature of Barack Obama and John McCain as part of a meeting that the Democratic candidate in Denver would have.

The founders of Airbnb bought, repackaged, and then sold cereal from the dollar store (for $ 40 / ea) to pay off their credit card debt. – Derek W. Clark (@DerekWClark) October 26, 2017

In addition to serving to promote the platform, the sale of cereal boxes enabled them to generate thousands of dollars to finance AirBed & Breakfast.

The Airbnb offices still have a couple of cereal boxes. The lodging and travel experiences company is valued at 31,000 million dollars.

It may interest you: Why your startup can not get investors?


In 2009, Uber formerly known as UberCab, was a service available only in San Francisco. The way to make a driver was too primitive: It was carried out through a text message and for the lucky ones with an iPhone, it could be done from the application.

Unlike today, the service was up to 2 times more expensive than a taxi service but the option of having a means of transport on demand opened the way.

One of the biggest challenges faced by UberCab at the time was changing the mentality of approaching a car of a stranger.

Currently, the company, which this year faced several management problems, is the largest unicorn in the world with a valuation of 68,000 million dollars and investment raised by a value of 12,900 million dollars.

Also published on Medium.

Published inStartups

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