Ingvar Kamprad, founder of furniture giant IKEA, died naturally in his sleep on Saturday 27th of January aged 91. He founded the company in 1943, which went on to become the world’s largest furniture retailer from 2008 onwards.
Kamprad was born in 1926 in Småland, Sweden. He set up IKEA at the young age of 17 and remained on the company’s board until he turned 87. Despite his billionaire status, the flat pack fanatic was renowned for his devotion to frugality. He drove an old Volvo and travelled by economy class.
Although Ingvar had ties to fascist groups during his youth, he went on to say that his involvement was youthful “stupidity” and “one of the greatest mistakes” of his life.Kamprad created a store that still has over 400 locations, revenue of $62 billion, and cultural ubiquity that very few consumer products could ever hope to attain.
He is a founder that truly changed the industry in which he operated. Let’s take a look at some other names that succeeded in the same way.
Ray Kroc- McDonalds
Want fries with that? Ray Kroc joined the California company McDonald’s in 1954, branding the company and turning it into a ‘supersize’ nationwide and global franchise. The restaurant soon became the most successful food corporation in the world. When speaking about his legacy, he famously said “I put the hamburger on the assembly line”. His success launched the global fast food industry, including huge chains such as Burger King and KFC.
Mark Zuckerberg- Facebook
How would we waste time if we didn’t have reams of school friends’ holiday photos and great aunt’s horoscopes to scroll through on a daily basis? Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant revolutionised how we consume information and the entire face of the internet. Facebook started out in 2004 as a website specifically for Harvard students. Having been global for over a decade, it is now valued at $1 trillion.
Julia Hartz- Eventbrite
In 2006, MTV TV executive Julia Hartz decided it was time for a career change. She ventured into the startup scene with her husband as co-founder. Eventbrite has raised over $80 million in the meantime, with over $1 billion in ticket sales sold on the interface. The company profits by charging organisers 2.5% of ticket prices plus 99 cent for every ticket sold. Hartz endorses the importance of happiness in the workplace, and as a result Eventbrite is also generally regarded as a great company to work for.
Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, Gordon Bowker- Starbucks
In 1971 three friends from the University of San Francisco founded the first Starbucks in Seattle, Washington. At first, the company only sold coffee beans and didn’t brew coffee in store. They purchased their early stock from a chain called Peet’s, before eventually buying over the franchise in 1984. They only operated six stores in Seattle in 1986, but owned 23,768 branches worldwide thirty years later.
Steve Jobs- Apple
You’re probably reading this right now on your Apple Mac, or maybe your iPhone? So much technology that we nowadays take for granted was invented by Steve Jobs. The San Franciscan entrepreneur led the 20th century technological innovation, leaving a clear legacy following his death in 2011. Apple continues to stay at the forefront of technological advancement, with a new improved iPhone released every year.
Whitney Wolfe- Tinder & Bumble
Most of us can hold Whitney Wolfe accountable for half a dozen terrible dates, but the 29 year old Texan has also set up thousands of long term partners across the world. Wolf co-founded Tinder, which made online dating mainstream. Her involvement with the company ended in 2014 following tension with executives and a sexual harassment lawsuit. She managed to swipe away her past and come back winning with feminist oriented dating app Bumble, now valued at over $1 billion.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin- Google
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine the internet without Google. The web giant ambitiously organised the world’s information back in 1998, with a mission to “preserve history and make it available to everyone”. The two college friends Page and Brin began the experiment from their Stanford dorm rooms, it differed from competitors in its ability to analyse the “backlinks” of hypertext documents. This recipe for success skyrocketed to ubiquity and is now worth $527 billion.
Arianna Huffington- The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post has become completely unavoidable over the past decade. Arianna Huffington founded the popular blog and newspaper in May 9, 2005. She set up the site to be used as a liberal commentary outlet. The publication went on to have several successful branches and was acquired by AOL in 2011 for $315 million. It has since gone on to further success, including a Pulitzer Prize in 2012.