There is a
multitude of struggles that are involved when running a successful business
venture. The road to glory is both hard and tiring, and sometimes they may end
up taking a toll on you to the point of throwing in the towel. One of those
struggles is facing rejection. You should not drive yourself nuts and make any
hasty decisions just because someone thinks you’re no good. You might have
heard of prominent unicorn companies, the billion-dollar ventures that are
always trending and making a huge impact in the world of startups. What you are
not aware of is how much struggle the founders had to go through to get to that
pinnacle of success. Here are insights to some of the iconic companies that had
a rough start and were rejected multiple times before finally landing their
(Rejected 80 Times by Investors)
fantasy sports provider is a relatively unknown company that came up from grass to grace.
Before its rise to glory, this company was known as Hubdub, and it started from
humble beginnings in Scotland. They underwent quite a huge number of rejections
before they landed their first investors. Now FanDuel is the second largest
billion-dollar fantasy sports company in the US.
Insights (Rejected 70 Times by Investors)
This is one of
those unicorn companies that also faced massive rejections
from potential investors before defying the odds and becoming a billion dollar
company. The founder Robert Hull advice startup founders not to pay close
attention to the rejections but focus on their business. He says that many
people were vocal on how his business would fail. He also goes ahead to give an
account of how he had to sacrifice and go for months without a salary. At one
point the struggle became unbearable that Hull considered selling the company
and that is when he got his first investor who offered 7 million dollars to
keep the company going. He is now a respected businessman all over the world.
(Rejected 20 Times by Investors)
developed by Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia in 1996. Bhatia came up with the idea
of sharing emails through browsers that were both fast and convenient. Since
the idea was not tested, every investor they approached turned down their offer
with no interest at all. Despite rejections from some credible investors,
they did not lose hope at all. They knew the idea was great and all they wanted
was funding to keep it even better. After an intensive and extensive search,
they came across Draper Fisher Jurvetson who agreed to offer them a total of
$300,000 for the project. They finally finished the project, and Hotmail became
one of the most widely used mailing platforms across the world. It had millions
of users in no time most of whom were Americans and later the world. Its
popularity made Microsoft make a move and agreed to purchase Hotmail in 1997
for a whopping $400 million.
Potter (Rejected by 12 Publishers)
series of novels is one of the most sorts after children’s books of all times.
Dubbed as the world’s first billionaire author, JK Rowling spent five good
years putting the series together. She thought that the hardest thing was
finishing the series of books but she didn’t know the number of rejections she would go through
before getting her first book published. Now, she is a well-known writer, and
her books live on through films, a theme park and a couple of video games. If
JK Rowling had given up following the rejections, we would never have the
coveted series of Harry Potter books.
(Rejected 7 Times by Investors)
This is one of
the biggest unicorn companies in the 21st century. Airbnb an online website
that enables you or anyone to list your bed and breakfast service. The founders
Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia started it with nothing but a couple of dollars,
after some convincing, they landed their first customer. The founders went
through a lot of criticism some of which were posted online. The first person
they approached to invest gave the idea a pass, but that didn’t stop them from
looking for more investors. Airbnb founders overcame all these challenges and
went to be one of the biggest ventures of the century after being rejected 7 times.
(Rejected 5 Times by HP)
Apple is one of the most successful companies of all time and has its products spread across the globe. Before Apple became a household name and a multi-billion dollar tech company, they went through
quite some struggle. Its founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak made their first computer from parts they had borrowed from Nolan Bushnell, the Atari founder. After developing the computer, Steve and his co-founder offered Bushnell a third of their company at $50,000 but he had his priorities were elsewhere, so he decided to decline the generous offer. Wozniak then tried to offer the design to his employer HP(known as Hewlett Packard at that time) for absolutely free but they declined the offer five times. Apple went on to be the company behind the iconic products like the iPhone,iPod, and iMac. It is now the most valuable company in the world and continues to make headlines with its unique lines of products. This company is one of the best companies that revolutionized technology.
(Rejected Twice by Y Combinator)
The owner of
Dropbox, Drew Houston, attended MIT and wanted to get in the coveted Y
Combinator program but was rejected twice.
The first time he came up with the SAT prep idea and he’s rejection letter
noted that “There has to be something you can build better than an SAT
prep company.” He then spent a year trying to come up with the idea that
will get him direct entry to the Y Combinator. He later made a third
application with the Dropbox idea that would put an end to uploading or
emailing attachments. This finally got him the opportunity he wanted, and now
Dropbox is one of the most valuable and widely known companies in the world.
Drew Houston is one of the youngest billionaires in Silicon Valley. If he had
quit after the rejections, we would never have come to interact with the simple
way of file sharing.
(Rejected by Toyota Motors)
The founder of
Honda Motors Soichiro Honda had a passion for cars and parts during his young
age. He went to Tokyo and started working in an auto shop as a cook. This is
because he lacked the formal education that would enable him to work as an
engineer. Seeing how passionate Soichiro was about cars, the auto shop manager
decided to give him a try. Soichiro proved very worth it and spearheaded the
success of the auto shop that he was appointed as a manager in one of the
branches. He started developing a new piston ring, but none of the directors approved his
So he left the
auto shop and a few years he completed his invention. He then approached Toyota
motors to sell them the idea, but they turned him down claiming that the piston
ring was substandard. After being disappointed a couple of times, he gave up
and started attaching a motor to bicycles. The idea proved worth it, and he
sent letters to 18,000 motorcycle shop owners, and only 5,000 of them
responded. He then started importing the motorcycles to Europe and USA. He
later ended up building a multi-billion dollar company called Honda Motors that
has become popular around the globe.
(Rejected When Trying to Sell Itself for $1 Million Dollars)
Google, the owners Larry Page and Sergey Brin were studying at Stanford. They
thought that this project was taking too much of their time and they wanted to
sell it so that they can focus on their education. They approached Excite’s CEO
George Bell with an asking price of one million dollars and he was too quick to reject the offer.
George Bell later approached the two entrepreneurs and offered them $750,000
which they refused and instead asked him to add a little more for investment
but not to buy it out. Without any word, Bell walked away.
That was when
five months later two companies agreed to inject in a whopping 25 million
dollars and Google went on to be one of the world’s biggest and most successful
businesses that continues to make big strides around the world.
The above true
business experiences are supposed to remind you that when someone says
“No” to your business, it doesn’t mean that it is all bad, but it’s
just that they don’t understand it yet or unable to grasp its value.
These true stories show us that even the founders of iconic companies had to
undergo some sort of disappointment before their dreams came true so don’t give
up on yours.