7 Businesses That Were Founded by Good Friends

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Starting a business isn’t easy, which is why having a co-founder can often make things a little easier, especially if that co-founder is your best friend. While many professionals warn against choosing a close friend as their business partner, there are plenty of examples that prove it can work. Take a look at companies like Airbnb, Warby Parker and even Ben and Jerry’s. These successful businesses started with a friendship before a brand, and see how they turned out.

RELATED: 7 Traits You Should Look for in a Co-Founder

If you’re thinking about starting a small business with your BFF but need some inspiration, check out the success stories of these seven BFF co-founders.


Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, Airbnb

In 2007, Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk moved to San Francisco and found a roommate through Craigslist: Joe Gebbia. At the time, Blecharczyk was an engineer for a startup and Gebbia was a designer for a different startup, and they immediately shut it down. “When I lived with Joe, I appreciated two things about him — he worked hard, just like me, and his skills complemented mine,” Blecharczyk explained. Mashable, “I have technical abilities, and he had creative design skills.”

After Blecharczyk moved out, Gebbia’s college friend Brian Chesky moved in. The trio became close friends and worked in the same industry, and it was in the summer of 2008 that they came up with their billion-dollar business idea. Due to a design convention in San Francisco, there was a lack of available hotels, so the trio created a website that would rent space in people’s apartments. The result: Airbnb.

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warby parker

Neil Blumenthal, Dave Gilboa, Andrew Hunt and Jeffrey Raider, Warby Parker

The founders of Warby Parker are Neil Blumenthal, Dave Gilboa, Andrew Hunt and Jeffrey Rader. became friends During graduate school at Wharton in Philadelphia. Because of a shared frustration with expensive eyeglasses, friends realized there was an opportunity in the market for them: high-quality, reasonably priced glasses available online. After coming up with the idea, they met at their local bar and made a pact that they would all work hard to launch the company but make sure their friendship was never compromised.

RELATED: I Co-Founded a Startup With My Best Friend: How to Balance Friendship and Business

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David Pomponio | Getty Images

Ben Lerer and Adam Rich, Thrillist

Ben Lerer and Adam Rich we are friends Long before launching Thrillist, an online media brand that covers local events and restaurants across the country. After both graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and moved to New York, Lerer and Rich would hang out frequently. One night while drinking beer together on Rich’s terrace, complaining about their jobs, when Lerer was getting ready to go on a date, they came up with the idea to launch Thrillist. Frustrated that they couldn’t figure out where to go on their date, Lerer and Rich realized the lack of restaurants, events, and online advice or city guides available to do. After that, Lerer and Rich began visiting restaurants around town, trying out several items and writing articles on them until the site eventually grew and is now a major media conglomerate.

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Ben and Jerry’s

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Ben and Jerry’s

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream date back to the seventh grade. Cohen said, “I met Jerry in seventh grade gym class running around the track. We were the two slowest, fattest kids in the class.” independent, Quickly becoming best friends, Cohen and Greenfield spent their teens together and eventually moved to New York after Greenfield graduated college. Eventually, when he felt the ice cream industry in New York was too saturated, he made his way to Vermont and opened his first store in Burlington in 1978.

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Sprout Social

Justin Howard, Gil Lara, Aaron Rankin and Peter Song, Sprout Social

when Sprout Social The executive team, Justin Howard, Gil Lara, Aaron Rankin and Peter Song, met each other knowing they should start a company together, however, they did not know what the company would be. Howard, the company’s co-founder, and CEO, and Lara, co-founder and COO, were family friends long before they became business friends through the birth. Sprout Social, His wives eventually introduced him to the company’s CTO Rankin during a couple’s group date night. Then, Rankin introduced the group to his former colleague and fellow Bowling League competitor, Song – who is today the company’s director of engineering, development and mobile. “It was very clear from those initial introductions and conversations that we should find a way to work together, and Sprout soon took shape,” explains Howard.

RELATED: 7 Qualities Every Entrepreneur Should Look for in a Co-Founder

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© Stephen Temerman

PJ Bouten and Louis Zonchire, Showpad

Showpad co-founders PJ Bouten and Louis Jonkaheere originally met when they both worked at a startup called Netlog. Jonkheere was an intern at the time, but the two immediately hit it off, bonding over a shared admiration for entrepreneurship. After some time the two left together and started a digital product studio called In the Pocket. However, these pockets exposed him to the challenges he faced in the marketing and sales industry and inspired his next business venture, Showpad. “I think it’s better to start out as Louie and I did, and after you’ve built that friendship you’re able to establish trust and a productive working relationship,” Bolton said in an email. entrepreneur,

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Sahil Sahni and Ankit Somani, collaborators

AllyO co-founders Sahil Sawhney and Ankit Somani met during their freshman year of college at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. After graduation, the two friends attended graduate school in the US, Somani at Georgia Tech and Sawhney at MIT. Keeping in touch throughout, Somani and Sawhney once met during the winter break to discuss a possible business idea of ​​forming a company to improve job recruitment. Putting this business plan on hold, friends went to work at various companies including Google, Oracle and McKinsey, however, in 2016 they finally decided it was time. Leaving his job, he spent months brainstorming, researching and eventually launching AllyO, an artificial intelligence recruiting platform. “One of the biggest strengths we discovered when launching Elio was keeping each other honest about business fundamentals,” explains the co-founders. “In our experience, the main contributor to this issue is the lack of open communication between founders, which we were able to overcome due to our close friendship and long history of working together on different startup ideas.”