Top 5 Rejected Businesses That Became Billion-Dollar Companies

Many successful businesses today started out as rejected ideas that were initially met with skepticism and doubt. These businesses were able to overcome their initial rejection and achieve massive success through a combination of perseverance, innovation, and a commitment to their vision. They identified unmet needs in the market and developed unique solutions that disrupted traditional industries and created new markets. Here are top 5 businesses that were rejected early on but went on to become hugely successful and even billion-dollar companies:


Airbnb, the popular home-sharing platform, was rejected by multiple investors when it first launched in 2008. One investor famously called it “a bad idea that would never work.”

Now Airbnb is a popular online marketplace for booking accommodations around the world. It was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk as a way for people to rent out their homes or spare rooms to travelers. Today, Airbnb has over 4 million hosts and operates in more than 220 countries and regions.

Airbnb’s platform allows hosts to list their properties and set their own prices, while travelers can search for and book accommodations based on their preferences and budget. The company earns revenue by charging hosts a service fee for each booking, as well as a fee to guests for processing their payments.

One of Airbnb’s key innovations is its focus on creating a unique and personalized travel experience for guests. Hosts can offer a variety of amenities and services, such as local recommendations, airport pick-up, or cooking lessons, to help guests feel more at home and connect with the local culture. Airbnb also offers “Experiences,” which are curated activities led by local experts, such as wine-tasting tours or photography workshops.

However, Airbnb has faced challenges and criticism from some local governments and communities over issues such as housing affordability, zoning regulations, and safety concerns. The company has responded by implementing measures such as partnering with local governments and introducing safety standards for hosts and guests.

Despite these challenges, Airbnb has continued to grow and expand into new markets, and is now valued at over $100 billion. Its success has been attributed to its ability to disrupt the traditional hotel industry by offering unique and affordable travel experiences, as well as its focus on creating a sense of community and connection among hosts and guests. Today, Airbnb is valued at $70.26Billion.


Uber, the ride-hailing giant, faced significant opposition and regulatory hurdles when it first launched in 2009 by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp. Many investors also initially turned down the opportunity to invest in the company.

Today Uber is a popular ride-hailing company. It allows passengers to quickly and easily hail a ride using their smartphone app, while drivers can use the app to find passengers and manage their trips.

Uber has revolutionized the transportation industry by offering a more efficient and convenient alternative to traditional taxis. The company’s app allows users to quickly find a nearby driver, track their ride in real-time, and pay for their trip through the app. Uber also offers a range of different ride options, including standard rides, luxury cars, and shared rides, to meet the needs of different passengers.

Despite facing significant regulatory and legal challenges in many markets, Uber has continued to expand its business and now operates in more than 700 cities worldwide. The company has also expanded into new areas such as food delivery (Uber Eats) and freight transportation (Uber Freight).

One of the key reasons for Uber’s success has been its ability to leverage technology to create a seamless and efficient user experience. The company’s app uses advanced algorithms to match riders with drivers, optimize routes, and provide real-time updates on trip status. Uber has also invested heavily in developing self-driving car technology, which has the potential to further disrupt the transportation industry in the future.

However, Uber has also faced criticism and controversy over issues such as driver pay, passenger safety, and regulatory compliance. The company has responded by introducing new safety measures for riders and drivers, partnering with local governments, and investing in driver training and support programs.

Overall, Uber’s success has been driven by its ability to identify a market need and provide a disruptive solution that meets the needs of both passengers and drivers. The company’s focus on technology and innovation has allowed it to quickly scale its business and establish a dominant position in the ride-hailing market. Today, Uber is valued at $62.79 Billion.


WhatsApp, the messaging app that now has over 2 billion users, was rejected by both Facebook and Twitter before being acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion.

WhatsApp is a messaging app that allows users to send text messages, voice messages, and make voice and video calls over the internet. It was founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton and quickly gained popularity due to its simple and easy-to-use interface, as well as its ability to operate on low-bandwidth networks.

WhatsApp disrupted the telecommunications industry by offering a free and convenient messaging service that quickly gained a massive user base. The company’s focus on privacy and security has also been a key factor in its success, with end-to-end encryption ensuring that messages are kept private and secure.

In 2014, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion, making it one of the largest tech acquisitions in history. Since then, WhatsApp has continued to grow and expand its features, including the addition of business tools and payment options.

Despite its success, WhatsApp has faced criticism and controversy over issues such as misinformation and the spread of fake news on its platform. The company has responded by introducing new features to help users identify and report fake news, as well as working with local governments and organizations to promote digital literacy and responsible online behavior.

Overall, WhatsApp’s success can be attributed to its ability to provide a convenient and secure messaging service that meets the needs of its users. Its acquisition by Facebook has also allowed it to benefit from the resources and expertise of one of the world’s largest tech companies, helping it to continue to innovate and grow. According to experts, each WhatsApp user is worth approximately $44. A similar calculation would value WhatsApp at $105.6 billion with 2.4 billion active monetizable users in 2022.


Slack, the popular workplace messaging platform, was initially rejected by many investors who didn’t see the need for another communication tool. It was founded in 2013 by Stewart Butterfield, Cal Henderson, and Eric Costello. It offers users a centralized and organized way to communicate and collaborate with team members, including real-time messaging, file sharing, and integration with other productivity tools.

Slack disrupted the traditional workplace communication model by providing a more intuitive and efficient way for teams to communicate and collaborate. The platform’s focus on user experience and design has been a key factor in its success, as well as its ability to integrate with other popular workplace tools such as Google Drive and Trello.

Slack quickly gained popularity, particularly among tech and startup companies, and went public in 2019 with a valuation of over $20 billion. The company has continued to innovate and expand its features, including the addition of video and voice calling, and has even introduced its own app store to allow users to further customize their experience.

Despite facing increasing competition from other workplace communication tools, Slack remains a popular choice for teams looking for a more streamlined and efficient way to communicate and collaborate. Its focus on user experience and integration with other tools has helped it to establish a dominant position in the workplace communication market. Today, Slack is valued at over $27,7 billion.


Square, the payment processing company founded by Jack Dorsey (also the co-founder of Twitter), faced skepticism from many investors when it first launched in 2010.

Square offers a range of payment and financial services to businesses, including payment processing, business loans, and small business software.

Square disrupted the traditional payment processing industry by providing a more accessible and affordable solution for small businesses to accept credit and debit card payments. Its signature card reader, which attaches to a smartphone or tablet, allows businesses to process payments without needing expensive equipment or complicated contracts.

Square has also expanded its services to include a range of other financial tools for small businesses, including invoicing, payroll, and customer management. Its focus on user-friendly design and affordability has made it a popular choice for small businesses and independent contractors.

Since going public in 2015, Square has continued to grow and expand its offerings, including the acquisition of other fintech companies such as Weebly and Cash App. Its innovative solutions and user-centric approach have helped it to establish a strong position in the fintech industry.

Overall, Square’s success can be attributed to its ability to identify a market need and provide a disruptive solution that meets the needs of small businesses. Its focus on user experience, affordability, and innovation has helped it to establish a dominant position in the payment processing and financial services market. In 2021, Square was valued at over $100 billion.


Despite facing rejection and obstacles along the way, they persevered and continued to innovate, ultimately achieving massive success. These stories serve as inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and demonstrate that success is possible with hard work, determination, and a willingness to take risks.

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