Browse Adzuna Blog »

Famous companies that started out as side projects

We live in a day and age where side hustles are becoming the norm. but regardless of how popular side projects have become, only a hand full of people have managed to turn their passion projects into successful companies.

Did you know that some of the most recognizable companies out there actually started out as small side projects? Some of them born in garages, some of them born out of larger companies. We all know the story of how Facebook was founded in a college dorm room, but what about the rest?


From Apple to Under Armour, here’s a look at some of the biggest companies that had very humble beginnings.



Before Apple become one of the world’s leading tech companies, it was a simple side project for its founders, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. They worked on building a computer range in a garage, which became known as Apple I. even though Jobs’ boss refused to invest in their tech, Apple managed to revolutionize the tech industry, designing an mp3 (iPod), media player software (iTunes) and a smartphone (iPhone).



In 2009, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom worked at as a product manager, teaching himself to code when he wasn’t working. Eventually, he built Burbn, a mobile check-in app. After quitting his day job and raising $500,000, he hired his co-founder Mike Krieger. Instagram was officially launched in 2010 and had 100,000 users within its first week of existence. In 2012, Facebook bought the company for $1 billion.


Under Armour

Kevin Plank was just another college football player at the University of Maryland in the 90s when he had a serious problem with how the cotton shirts stuck to his body when he sweated on the field. He started a side project to develop a shirt that wouldn’t soak up the sweat, and by 1996, he had his prototype. As soon as he graduated, his side hustle became his official business, known as Under Armour, which was operated from his grandma’s basement.



Alan Schaaf was a student at Ohio University in 2009 when he started building an image uploader that would rival the then hugely popular PhotoBucket. It took him two weeks to build and upload to Reddit. The site was called Imgur and within its first year, the website had half a million page views each month. Today, the company has 150 million monthly users as well as a thriving internet community.


Now that you know how a part time job can turn out to be the job of your dreams, why not start browsing Adzuna’s listings today?