Building a large business without raising capital is kind of a big deal. Anyone who has tried starting and growing a business knows, firsthand, how tough it can be.
So is it possible to build a billion dollar business without raising a dime in outside investment?
Tough but doable.
There are examples of several business people who were able to start and grow their own business to billions of dollars in value without raising money from investors.
There are several companies that have been sold for billions without raising outside capital. Here are some examples:
- WhatsApp: In 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion. WhatsApp had not raised any outside funding prior to the acquisition.
- Zappos: Amazon acquired Zappos for $1.2 billion in 2009. Zappos had previously raised some venture capital funding, but the company was profitable at the time of the acquisition.
- Spanx: In 2018, Spanx founder Sara Blakely became a billionaire when she sold a majority stake in her company to Blackstone. Spanx had never raised outside capital prior to the sale.
- Epic Games: In 2021, Epic Games raised $1 billion in funding from investors including Sony, but the company had already achieved a valuation of $17.3 billion prior to the funding round. Epic Games had not raised any outside capital before 2012.
- Patagonia: In 2020, the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, transferred 100% ownership of the company to a benefit corporation. Patagonia had never raised any outside capital.
These are just a few examples of companies that have been sold for billions without raising outside capital. There are likely many more such companies, especially in industries where it is easier to achieve profitability without significant capital expenditures.