Top Successful Tech Companies That Had a Limited Budget

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On a tight budget to create your successful company? Check out the innovators who started from the same situation!

   Becoming one of the many successful tech companies on a limited budget is hard. There are countless young people with that problem aspiring to build a company that, someday, will become a successful Silicon Valley giant. And for many of these people, if their ideas and concepts were the sole requirement to achieve that dream, that wouldn’t be an issue. However, nowadays, in order to become one of the successful tech companies on a limited budget you have a major obstacle to overcome, something is required, like a kick off. And still, for many of these people, that success seems far away. Does it really have to work like this?

   For many well known, prominent figures in the tech industry, which inspired many other current companies, that was not the case.  So we provide the top 5 tech companies that before becoming the next breakthrough in the IT world, began from a tight budget:


   As he was working on Wall Street, the then 30 year old Jeff Bezos saw a chance to change his life as the rise of the internet was taking place during the 90’s. He then made the decision to leave his role at the time as senior vice-president at D. E. Shaw & Co. He had the intention of starting Amazon: his initial investment was of $245,573, which came from his parents’ life savings. And yet, Amazon didn’t start as the giant billion dollar corporation as we know today: it started as an online bookstore, as a potential competitor against well known American chain bookstores, such as Barnes & Noble. He promptly advertised as ‘’Earth’s biggest bookstore’’.


   Bill Hewlett and David Packard already knew each other from Stanford University. Their partnership was fueled by the electrical engineering professor Dr Frederick Terman. By the end of the Great Depression, in 1939, Hewlett and Packard started an electronics company. It began in a small garage in Palo Alto, California. The initial investment was of $538 (an equivalent of $9,875.14 in 2020) and their initial products were audio oscillators.


   Mike Krieger was a UX designer and engineer at Meebo. Kevin Systrom had a past at Nextstop, which would be later on acquired by Facebook, Google’s corporate development department and as an intern at Odeo, the company that grew to become Twitter. 

   In 2009, Systrom focused his energy in a concept – Burbn – that would be the basis for what we know as Instagram today

“I figured I could build a prototype of the idea in HTML5 and get it to some friends, those friends ended up using the prototype without any branding elements or design at all.”

   It was basically a proto-Instagram: you would be able to share locations, future plans and post pictures of the meet-ups. The main success from Burbn came from the picture-sharing experience. Every idea and feature revolved around the photo-sharing concept. After several initial prototypes, Systrom finally showed his ‘’final’’ prototype to people from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz at a cocktail party for Hutch. With (a lot of) luck, Systrom raised $500k, and was able to quit his job and find a team. His first hire, which eventually became a co-founder, was Krieger. After completely stripping Burbn and building a new app almost entirely from scratch, Instagram was born in 2010.


   Before officially starting to work with computers, Michael Dell became a pre-med student at the University of Texas. His spare time was initially spent on upgrading PC’s in order to resell them and make some extra money. This objective grew bigger with time in Dell’s mind:

‘’I start exploring this whole computer thing further, and one of the things I noticed about the computer business was that it was very inefficient,”

“It took a really long time for the technology to get from the people that made it to the people that were buying it, and it was actually rather expensive and slow.”

   His first investment was of $1,000 dollars a week (made from his previous experiences as an initial businessman). Soon after, Dell started to make from $50,000 to $80,000 a month in his dorm room.


   A very well known fact from Appe is that it all started in a garage, with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The initial idea came from Wozniak, with a circuit board. Jobs not only understood Woz’ idea, but saw the potential in it. This initial idea for a circuit board would eventually become Apple I.

   Jobs suggested that the circuit boards should be resold for people who were interested in making their own personal computers. After Woz’ calculations of production costs, Steve Jobs decided to fund the project: he sold his van for $1500 and Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator for $500 (an equivalent of $7,434 and $2,478.18 in 2020, respectively). Jobs planned to start selling the product at Byte Shop, which sold computers. Apple I went on sale in 1976, almost a year after the initial draft, for $666.66. From this list, Steve Jobs´ effort is a great example of one of the major successful tech companies on a limited budget.