Making a business work over the long term is a major challenge given than the majority of start-ups fail within five years and those that do survive can struggle to make a profit. But these well-known businesses with impressive staying power, and with a presence in Costa Rica, some for decades, have had no such problems.
Do you know how they all started? Click ahead to discover the most famous company founded the year you were born.
Rising from the ruins of postwar Japan, the Sony Corp. was founded in 1946 when Masaru Ibuka opened an electronics concession in a Tokyo department store. The company, which has become renowned for its electronics, gaming, entertainment and financial services, started out selling rice cookers and wasn’t known as Sony until 1958.
1949: 20th Century Fox Television
TV was in its infancy when 20th Century Fox branched out into the medium in 1948. Over the years, the company, which is a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, has produced some of America’s most popular and enduring shows, from “The Simpsons” and “M*A*S*H” to “The X-Files,” “Glee” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
1954: Burger King
The flame-grill burger chain was founded in 1954 when fast food franchisees David Edgerton and James McLamore bought the struggling InstaBurger King restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. Now a subsidiary of Canadian firm Restaurant Brands International, Burger King counts a total of 5,738 outlets in 100 countries worldwide.
Burger King’s arch rival officially came into being on April 15, 1955. While the business actually began in 1940 when the first McDonald’s restaurant opened in San Bernardino, California, the corporation dates its founding to the opening of the first franchised McDonald’s outlet in 1955 by Ray Kroc, who went on to oversee the company’s global expansion.
The French cookware and appliance company was founded in Sarcelles near Paris in 1956 by two engineers, Marc Grégoire and Louis Hartmann, who chose the name Tefal, an amalgamation of Teflon and aluminium. The company, which is known worldwide, pioneered nonstick cookware and brought the world the cordless iron.
1957: McCain Foods
The world’s largest producer of frozen French fries, McCain is a household name in hundreds of countries around the world. The Canadian firm started life in 1957 in Florenceville, New Brunswick, when the McCain brothers – Harrison, Andrew, Robert and Wallace – began to freeze the potatoes produced by the family company.
Diner’s Club may have created the world’s first credit card, but Visa is the most popular credit card company these days, processing over 100 billion transactions a year. The planet’s leading credit card was launched in September 1958 as the BankAmericard, and became known as Visa in 1976.
1960: Domino’s Pizza
The world’s second-largest pizza chain traces its history back to 1960, when brothers Tom and James Monaghan bought the DomiNick’s pizza parlor in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The siblings changed the chain’s name to Domino’s in 1965 and oversaw the company’s global expansion, pioneering home pizza delivery. As of September 2017, Domino’s has 13,811 outlets in 75 countries.
If you’re sporting a pair of designer spectacles or sunglasses, chances are they are made by Luxottica. The largest eyewear company in the world, which was established in 1961 in the Italian town of Agordo by businessman Leonardo Del Vecchio, now owns several top brands including Ray-Ban. The firm also produces eyewear under license for the likes of Prada, Chanel and Burberry.
Retailer Sam Walton opened his first Walmart Discount Store in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas, and the rest is history. The world’s largest company by revenue, Walmart turned over a staggering $480 billion in 2016. The company is also the planet’s No. 1 employer, with a total of 2.3 million staff around the world.
Nike has its origins in Blue Ribbon Sports, the company set up in 1964 by track athlete Phil Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman to distribute Onitsuka Tiger running shoes. In 1971, the firm changed its name to Nike after the Greek goddess of victory, and started making its own sneakers emblazoned with the famous “swoosh.” Today, Nike is the world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel.
1965: Dolby Laboratories
The company that revolutionized cinema sound and consumer audio devices was founded in London in May 1965 by American engineer Ray Dolby. The firm decamped to the states and set up in San Francisco in 1967, and began selling its audio technologies to the movie industry. As of January 2017, Dolby Laboratories has an annual turnover of $1.03 billion.
Eager to steal a chunk of the market dominated by the BankAmericard, which would later become Visa, a consortium of California banks teamed up in 1966 to create the precursor to MasterCard, which was called “Master Charge: The Interbank Card.” MasterCard is now the second most-popular credit card company in the world after Visa, with a total of 191 million cardholders worldwide.
Intel was created in 1968 by Gordon E. Moore, the author of Moore’s law, and Robert Noyce, a physicist who co-invented the integrated circuit. The company started out making semiconductors, later moving into computer microprocessors. Today, Intel processors feature in the majority of PCs on the planet.
Starbucks coffeehouses are ubiquitous these days, but the firm had very humble beginnings. The first Starbucks was opened by University of San Francisco grads Jerry Baldwin, Gordon Bowker and Zev Siegl in 1971 in Seattle, and just sold coffee beans. Fast forward to 2017 and Starbucks has 24,464 outlets worldwide generating an annual turnover of $21.32 billion.
Retailer Amancio Ortega opened the first Zara store in 1974 in A Coruña in northwest Spain, calling it Zorba after “Zorba the Greek,” before changing the name to Zara. The company, which is renowned for producing fast-fashion lookalikes of designer clothing, now has a total of 2,169 stores worldwide and annual revenues of $15.9 billion.
The world’s leading software company was founded by childhood buddies Bill Gates and Paul Allen back in April 1974 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. By the mid-1980s, Microsoft was the major player in the PC operating system market. Today the firm turns over $85.32 billion a year, making it one of the most valuable businesses on the planet.
Almost a year to the day after Microsoft was founded, Apple was established by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The company was a success from the get-go, going public as early as 1980, and its product range, which includes the iPhone, Mac and Apple Watch, has helped make Apple the world’s most moneyed enterprise.
1977: Victoria’s Secret
America’s premier lingerie company, which is famous for its extravagant fashion shows and Angel supermodels, came into being in June 1977 when founders Roy and Gaye Raymond opened their first store in a shopping mall in Palo Alto, California. The company now has thousands of stores worldwide and turns over billions of dollars a year.
The leading financial software, data, and media company was founded in 1981 in New York by Michael Bloomberg, who used the cash he’d garnered from the sale of Salomon Brothers to fund the business. A resounding success, the firm now has 192 offices worldwide, turning over billions of dollars a year.
1982: Adobe Systems
Adobe Systems was established in December 1982 in a Mountain View, California, garage by two former Xerox PARC employees, Charles Geschke and John Warnock, who started out marketing PostScript page description language. PostScript was picked up by Apple in 1985, and Adobe launched Photoshop, its most famous product, four years later.
AOL traces it roots back to 1983 when entrepreneur William von Meister (pictured) founded Control Video Corp., an online service for Atari. In 1989, the firm changed its name to America Online and went on to pioneer the use of the internet in American homes during the 1990s, before it lost the bulk of its market share as result of the switch from dial-up to broadband.
In February 1984, Michael Dell, who was just 19 at the time, founded his eponymous computer hardware company in Austin, Texas, using a $1,000 investment courtesy of his parents. The firm produced its first PC in 1985 and hasn’t looked back. Today, Dell has a total of 101,800 employees and turns over $50.9 billion a year.
Chinese networking and telecoms giant Huawei was founded in 1987 in the city of Shenzhen by Ren Zhengfei (pictured), who cut his teeth as an engineer in the People’s Liberation Army. The company expanded internationally in the late 1990s, and today Huawei is the largest telecoms equipment manufacturer in the world with a turnover of $75.1 billion.
1990: Time Warner
The world’s third-largest entertainment company was created in January 1990 following the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications. The firm, which owns HBO, Warner Bros. and more, is being eyed-up by AT&T, which announced its intent to buy Time Warner for $108.7 billion last October.
The tech company, which is renowned for manufacturing top-quality graphic processing units, was founded in April 1993 by microprocessor designer Jensen Huang, and engineers Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem, with funding provided by Sequoia Capital. These days, Nvidia, which is branching out into artificial intelligence, has annual revenues of $6.9 billion.
Desperate to get involved in the internet business boom of the 1990s, Jeff Bezos set up online retailer Cadabra in 1994, changing its name to Amazon.com not long after. The retailer, which started out just selling books, is now the world’s largest internet company and turns over a mind-boggling $135.98 billion a year.
The world’s leading online marketplace was founded in 1995 as the AuctionWeb by California-based entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar (pictured). The business experienced phenomenal growth during the 1990s and became known as eBay from 1997. Last year, eBay turned over $8.97 billion and had 12,600 staff in its employ.
1996: Alexa Internet
Alexa is the best-known web traffic and analytics company in the world. The firm was established in San Francisco in April 1996 by entrepreneurs Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat, who named their business after the Library of Alexandria in Ancient Egypt, and lucked out big-time in 1999 when Amazon bought their business for $250 million in stock.
Back in 1997, most people were still renting movies from Blockbuster and similar video and DVD rental stores when Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph founded Netflix in August of that year. Netflix pioneered DVD rental by mail before it moved into streaming media. The company, which has expanded into movie and TV production, now has annual revenues of $8.83 billion.
The search engine colossus was established in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were PhD students at California’s Stanford University, with funding provided by several investors including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Stanford University professor David Cheriton. The firm, which didn’t waste any time dominating the search engine market, now has a brand value of $245 billion.[td_smart_list_end]