Companies Started During Recessionby Bipin Shah Self Employed Recession is looked as a dull period, where companies report record losses, or have to leave the market. Here are few companies that took a positive approach, started off during the economic downturn, and have emerged successfully.
FedEx was founded in 1973, during the recession in 1973-75 by Frederick W. Smith. Recognizing the need for a fast and efficient airfreight, owing to a stint in the Army, Smith purchased a controlling interest in Arkansas Aviation Sales and founded Federal Express, now known as FedEx. On the first day of business itself, FedEx managed to deliver 186 packages across 25 cities in U.S. With revenue of $39.3 billion in 2011, FedEx now delivers more than 7.5 million packages to more than 375 destinations in almost every country, everyday.
Microsoft was founded in 1975, during the recession in 1973-75, Bill Gates. Chasing a dream of seeing a computer on every desk and every home running on the Microsoft software, Gates wanted to fill the gap with his products. Microsoft started to dominate the home computer operating system market by introducing MS-DOS in the mid-1980s. The introduction of Microsoft Office saw Microsoft reining the office suite also. With revenue of $17.37 billion, Microsoft is creating waves by entering into the Videogame, internet telephone services with the acquisition of Skype, and the mobile platform with its Windows 7 Mobile phones.
Cable News Network (CNN) was founded in 1980, during the 1980-82 recession by Ted Turner. The first channel to provide 24 hour news coverage, and the first all-news channel, CNN expanded to a number of cable and satellite TV channels. CNN now has over 26 bureaus, more than 900 affiliated local stations, with several regional and foreign-language networks around the world. CNN is a subsidiary of Time Warner, which merged with Turner Broadcasting in 1996. With a revenue of $638 million, Time Warner has seen CNN reach a cumulative audience of 85.7 million viewers in 2011.
MTV was founded in 1981, during the 1980-82 recession. The launch saw a footage of the launch countdown of the space shuttle Columbia and Apollo 11, and photos of Apollo 11 landing on the moon with a flag featuring MTV’s logo. Within months of its launch, MTV started selling music which was not played by the local radio stations to record shops. MTV was launched with the concept of playing music 24X7 with a tagline "You will never look at music the same way again.” MTV was acquired by Viacom in 1985 and has now become one of the biggest pop culture influences throughout the world.
Wikipedia Foundation was founded in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, after the recession triggered in the early 2000s after the 9/11 incident. The name Wikipedia was formed after joining the words ‘wiki’ which means ‘a technology for creating collaborative websites’ and ‘encyclopedia’. Wikipedia, created to complement an online encyclopedia project Nupedia, has now become a global project which caters to multiple languages and inspires a wide range of reference projects. Wikipedia now has over 20 million free articles in over 282 languages, and has over 31 million registered users and has a viewership of over 14.5 percent of all internet users; while its parent company Wikimedia Foundation has reported operating revenue of $0.2 million.
General Electric was founded in 1892, during the 1873-96 recession, by Thomas Edison, Charles Coffin, Edwin Houston, and Elihu Thomson. Edison was of a view to commercialize his invention—The light Bulb—and brought together his business interests under the ‘Edison General Electric’. The company which was a result of the merger of ’Edison General Electric’ and ‘Thomson-Houston Electric Company’, now offers products ranging from power plants to financial services. With a revenue of $38.4 billion in 2011, GE has also been ranked the 6th Largest Firm in U.S., as well as the 14th Most Profitable. It has also been ranked the 7th Company for Leaders, 5th Best Global Brand, 82nd Green Company, 13th Most Admired Company, and the 19th Most Innovative Company.
Sports Illustrated was launched in 1954, during the 1953-1954 recession, by Henry Luce. At a time, when sports was below far away from the attention of serious journalism, Luce wanted to launch a magazine which was into general sports with a national following. Even after being advised to let go of the idea, Luce, who was not a sports fan himself, decided to go ahead with the idea. In its initial years, Sports Illustrated was targeted at the activities of the upper class and featured yachting, safaris but Luce’s attention was brought to other sports during the Winter Olympic Games of 1956. Sports Illustrated now has over 3.5 subscribers and is read by around 23 million readers every week in the U.S.
Hewlett Packard was founded in 1939, during the end of The Great Depression, by Bill Hewlett and David Packard. HP was founded in a garage which focused on a wide range of electronic products for industry and agriculture. What started as a test equipment company, made a leap into the electronics industry. It was a notoriously cheap organization and believed in working together and making sacrifices to be cheap. With a revenue of $31.2 billion in 2011, HP has ranked at the numero uno spot on the Green Rankings of America’s 500 largest corporations.
Disney was founded in 1923, during the recession of 1923-24 by Walt Disney and Roy Disney. The Walt Disney Company was started off in a garage as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, and rolled out short films like ‘Alice’s Wonderland’, and ‘Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.’ Disney created the Mickey Mouse in 1928, after it lost the contract of Oswald and simultaneously started the ‘Silly Symphonies’, and the popularity gained by these fuelled Disney to plan its full-length animation, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, which went on to become the highest-grossing film of that time. In 1954, Walt Disney conceived the idea to open Disneyland, using the Disneyland series, which became a place for parents and children to have fun at the same time. With revenue of $10.43 billion, The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world, in terms of revenue.
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