7 Oldest Startup Companies in the World (Starting from 578 A.D.!)

Here are 5 very old companies that some sources suggest may have begun as startups in their early days, though definitive classification is difficult:

oldest startup in the world

  1. Kongō Gumi (Established 578 AD) – A Japanese construction company, considered by some researchers to be the oldest continuously operating company in the world, founded in 578 AD.
  2. Staffelter Hof Winery (Established around 862) – A German winery that claims roots as far back as 862, making it one of the oldest companies still in operation today.
  3. Antinori (Established around 1180) – An Italian winemaking company that dates back to 1180 and the mercantile operations of the Antinori family.
  4. Barovier&Toso (Established 1295) – An Italian glassmaker founded in 1295 on the Venetian island of Murano, renowned for its artistic glasswork over centuries.
  5. Beretta (Established 1526) – The Italian gunmaker Beretta is one of the world’s oldest industrial firms, starting operations in 1526.
  6. Jim Beam (Established 1795) – The American bourbon whiskey maker has its roots as one of the first entrepreneurial businesses in the sector after being founded in the late 18th century.
  7. Lørenskog Hosepipe Factory (Established 1834) – This Norwegian company, which makes fire hoses, is reported by some sources as potentially the oldest operating startup, having begun as a small family business.
  8. Ford Motor Company (founded in 1903) Started by Henry Ford with just $28,000 from investors and initially operated out of the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit – one of the earliest automobile startups to grow into a multinational giant.
  9. Hewlett-Packard (founded in 1939) – HP has an iconic startup story, when Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard began building their first product, an audio oscillator, in a garage in Palo Alto.
  10. Nike (launched in 1964) Initially they began as the startup Blue Ribbon Sports, with founder Phil Knight initially importing and selling athletic shoes out of the trunk of his car before the company launched its own Nike brand and line of footwear to become a sportswear juggernaut. Nike definitely popularized the use of startup adjectives over the years!

And so, now you see the history – startups were around in 578 AD and continuing into 2024!

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