The Most Successful Company Founded The Year You Were Born by Ben Taylor, FindTheCompany
So it is that companies like Anthem, VISA, Microsoft and Facebook are the extreme exceptions, businesses that not only beat the odds, but went on to become household names, creating thousands of jobs and redefining their industries.
At FindTheCompany, a data site that’s part of the Graphiq network, we went back to 1944 to find the most successful company founded the year you were born. In order to define success, we ranked more than 10,000 companies traded on U.S. exchanges by recent market capitalization (calculated in late March, 2016). A company’s market cap is essentially its total net worth: the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the share price.
Determining the exact founding year for some companies can be difficult, given the frequency of spinoffs, mergers and acquisitions. For this reason, we turned to Field-Ritter, which carefully tracks the history of every business with an IPO from 1975 through the present day. For example, Field-Ritter defaults to the oldest founding year among two merging companies, even if the name of the original company changes.
Most Successful Company Founded The Year You Were Born
Most of today’s big companies — even those founded in the ’40s and ’50s — went public in this modern timeframe, but it’s worth mentioning that our dataset might miss a few businesses that IPO’d in the mid 20th century.
Every company on this list is a big success story. Each grew from nothing, maintained a strong market position and created an enduring brand that thrives to this day. We’ll start in the 1940s, then work our way up to 2015.
Successful company founded in 1944
Market Cap: $36,474,300,000
Ticker Symbol: ANTM
This Indiana-based insurance company’s origins began with Mutual Hospital Insurance and Mututal Medical Insurance, formed in the mid-1940s. Decades later, the company has expanded to become a major insurer across 14 states.
Hibbett Sports Inc.
Market Cap: $815,740,000
Ticker Symbol: HIBB
Hibbett Sports began as a modest shop in Birmingham, Alabama. Today, it operates in 32 states, most prominently in Alabama, Texas and Georgia as of 2015.
The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
Market Cap: $34,498,700,000
Ticker Symbol: EL
This familiar makeup, perfume and hair products brand is headquartered in Manhattan and splashed across department stores throughout America. The company owns dozens of cosmetic brands, including Tommy Hilfiger, Clinique and Aveda.
Market Cap: $2,884,490,000
Ticker Symbol: CPA
This Latin American company began as the national airline of Panama. By 2014, the company had expanded its fleet to 98 airplanes.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc.
Market Cap: $5,416,750,000
Ticker Symbol: DKS
Once a simple Pennsylvania sporting goods store, Dick’s Sporting Goods is now just about everywhere, operating in 47 states as of early 2016.
Grand Canyon Education Inc.
Market Cap: $1,945,900,000
Ticker Symbol: LOPE
Grand Canyon Education owns for-profit Grand Canyon University, a private Christian university founded in 1949. The parent company purchased the institution in 2004 and moved the school to a for-profit model.
Successful company founded in 1950
Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc.
Market Cap: $4,246,020,000
Ticker Symbol: DNKN
The company started as a small donut restaurant named “Open Kettle,” but became Dunkin’ Donuts just two years later. Today, the popular donut shop brand also owns the ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins.
Barrett Business Services Inc.
Market Cap: $196,690,000
Ticker Symbol: BBSI
This agency finds employees to fill business needs, whether through temporary staffing, contracts or other sourcing.
Market Cap: $20,970,000,000
Ticker Symbol: ZTS
Zoetis is the largest provider of medicine and vaccines for pets and livestock.
Market Cap: $3,398,760,000
Ticker Symbol: RIG
Started by Southern National Gas Corporation (later, Sonat) in 1952, the company began as an Alabama-based offshore drilling outfit. It was added to the S&P 500 in 2013.
William Lyon Homes Inc.
Market Cap: $375,780,000
Ticker Symbol: WLH
William Lyon Homes has been planning and building homes for more than 60 years. The company currently offers services across six states.
Universal Forest Products Inc.
Market Cap: $1,656,810,000
Ticker Symbol: UFPI
The company manufactures and sells wood products, from consumer lumber to home-building to commercial construction.
The TJX Companies Inc.
Market Cap: $52,062,600,000
Ticker Symbol: TJX
Over the years, TJX has come to own classic American brands in apparel and homegoods, ranging from T.J.Maxx to HomeGoods to Marshalls.
O’Reilly Automotive Inc.
Market Cap: $26,524,100,000
Ticker Symbol: ORLY
What began as a single, modest auto parts store in Springfield, Missouri, has expanded to a massive retail chain with more than 4,500 locations across the U.S.
Market Cap: $161,795,000,000
Ticker Symbol: V
VISA can trace its roots back to Bank of America’s 1958 BankAmericard program. It expanded internationally in 1974. Today, it serves more than 200 countries.
Market Cap: $8,191,450,000
Ticker Symbol: IHS
The business started as Rogers Publishing Company, which would index product catalogs on microfilm to save space and resources. Today, the company provides data and analysis for decision making in technical industries like defense, aerospace, energy and more.
Successful company founded in 1960
Domino’s Pizza Inc.
Market Cap: $6,499,340,000
Ticker Symbol: DPZ
Two brothers borrowed $900 (after a $500 down payment) to buy their first pizza store. Today, it operates more than 12,000 stores worldwide.
J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.
Market Cap: $9,489,930,000
Ticker Symbol: JBHT
Founder J.B. Hunt founded his trucking company with just five trucks and seven trailers. Today, it’s the nation’s largest public trucking company.
Market Cap: $1,271,670,000
Ticker Symbol: PLT
In its early history, Plantronics developed specialized headsets for airline professionals and call center employees. More recently, the company has expanded to all sorts of audio equipment, including gaming and Bluetooth.
Regency Centers Corporation
Market Cap: $7,491,820,000
Ticker Symbol: REG
This real estate investment trust mostly focuses on space for shopping centers and office buildings.
Spirit Airlines Inc.
Market Cap: $3,374,160,000
Ticker Symbol: SAVE
Spirit Airlines began as Clipper Trucking Company in 1964, but transitioned to an airline over the