3 Stories of Miraculously Successful Businesses

Monday, December 25, 2017 | Posted by: Alpha Kappa Psi

Three Miraculous Business Stories


Starting a business is no simple task. It takes years for most ideas to even get funding, and only about 10% of start-ups succeed. This harsh reality is often discouraging, but looking at successful businesses and their rocky starts provides much needed encouragement. If you’ve been dreaming of starting your own business, here are three business stories to remind you that any idea could become a smashing success.


Over 300 million people have listed their homes on Airbnb’s website. Since guests can both save money and avoid hotel bureaucracy by booking an Airbnb home for a trip, it’s obvious why. Airbnb launched in 2008 for the Democratic National Convention (DNC). But they didn’t start out successful. They overcame plenty of roadblocks on their journey.

Brian Chesky, CEO, and Joe Gebbia, CPO, wanted to start a business together – but they didn’t know quite where to begin. To come up with funding while they waited for inspiration, they hosted guests for a 2007 San Francisco design conference on their inflatable mattresses. They called this short venture their “Air bed and breakfast.”

It didn’t take long before they realized there was more to this idea. However, the team had no source of funding, were in crippling debt, and every investor turned them down. They earned a total of $30,000 during the convention by personally assembling cereal boxes (Obama-O’s and Cat McCain’s) and selling them for $40 a box. It still wasn’t enough to fund the company, only to eliminate their debt and let them start from zero. It wasn’t until they took quality photos of listed homes that their business grew to today’s success with a net worth of over three billion dollars.


With over 22,000 stores world-wide, Starbucks brings millions of customer their favorite drink every day. But in 1971, Starbucks was only one retailer selling coffee beans, teas, and spices, never brewing drinks for customers.

Howard Schultz joined the team in 1982 as Director of Retail Operations and Marketing. His first drink was a couple years prior; Sumatra blend from Indonesia made by French press. This is what first gave him a sense of home.

Soon Schultz traveled to Italy and he quickly became familiar with the coffee bar style shops that America didn’t have. Schultz returned with this new idea to turn Starbucks into a coffee house, selling drinks to the customers. He was rejected, but he didn’t accept defeat. When Starbucks found themselves in an economic slump, his superiors brought him back. In 1987 Starbucks was transformed to the coffee shop he’d originally wanted. They still sourced high quality, fair trade coffee from around the world – but it was now brewing the beloved Italian espressos and lattes for customers in a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy it in.

Y Combinator

Twice a year, Y Combinator gives out seed investment money to a batch of start-ups. These founders then participate in a start-up school. The founders gain skills, expand their ideas, and get the opportunity to speak with multiple investors on “Demo Day”. If you have been working on a start-up, consider applying for their 2018 Batch of next winter.

The idea for Y Combinator began in 2005 when frustrated Paul Graham wanted investment businesses to give smaller amounts of money to multiple start-ups as opposed to a few larger sums to fewer ideas. He also wanted these investments to go to “hackers instead of suits”. He pitched the idea to his friend, Jessica Livingston, and the two committed to the achieving Paul’s vision. He then put up 100 thousand dollars to get the foundation started.

Eventually they realized, the only reason their own start-up, viaweb, worked was because their friend invested seed money for a small stake in the company and taught them the basics of opening and maintaining a start-up. The understanding that more entrepreneurs needed this training and insight is how the start-up school began.

Start-ups like Drop-Box, Reddit, Doordash Twitch, and even Airbnb attribute to Y Combinator’s success and can pass that forward to more rising start-ups in the program.

It seems that miracles are not exclusive to December, so keep the spirit going and explore your entrepreneurial-side with the start of the New Year. What miracles are you hoping for in 2018? Share in the comments below!

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