Most people know Amazon.com as the world’s largest online retailer. While this is where the company stands in today’s day and age, it is important to note that its history dates back to when it was founded in 1994.
Jeff Bezos incorporated Amazon in July 1994, with the website launching to the public a year later. According to Quora, the original name was going to be “Cadabra,” but Bezos misheard it as “cadaver.”
It is easy to believe that Amazon has had loads of success since day one, but this is not exactly true. In fact, the company has taken many turns over the years to reach the heights at which it stands today.
Early on, Amazon was not a retailer of “all things.” Instead, the company focused primarily on books, the first of which was sold out of Bezos’ garage. Of course, this has changed quite a bit over the years as the company now sells everything from toys to clothes to furniture and much more.
On May 15, 1997, Amazon issued its initial public offering of stock at a price of $18/share. Despite the fact that Amazon had a solid business plan in place, investors began to worry about the future due to the fact that the company had no intentions of making a profit for the first five years.
At the time, this plan was frustrating for investors. However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise as Amazon was able to navigate its way through the dot-com bubble that crushed so many others in the e-commerce space.
During the first quarter of 2001 Amazon finally became profitable, posting revenue of $1 billion with a profit of $5 million. This may have been a small profit for the company, but it justified the plan that Bezos set in place from day one.
In the early days, it was difficult to look ahead and see Amazon as the number one online retailer in the world – but this is exactly what happened. The company now has separate websites for a variety of markets, including: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, and China among others.
Although a lot has changed for Amazon over the years, the company has remained true to its roots in many ways.
This is part of an ongoing series on some of America’s most successful entrepreneurs and companies got their start. For more on Amazon, read our piece on Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.