5 Companies That Started Their Business With a Problem

See which companies solved annoying everyday problems.

Legendary investor Peter Lynch had a simple approach to finding companies he wanted to put his money into: Invest in what you know. Lynch felt that the only way to get ahead of the rest of Wall Street was to begin with a problem or useful product he had identified in his own life as a starting point for the more in-depth research that would ultimately help him decide if it was worth investing. The approach proved to be a good one for Lynch, and it has applications across the world of business.

Chances are, if you’re dealing with a problem, you’re not the only one. But, if you’re lucky, you could end up turning that problem into a solution, and running one of those companies that people have heard of and want to invest in.

In fact, some of the biggest success stories of recent decades involve start-ups that took a simple issue and offered a simple, direct solution. If you can create a service that allows people to address a fundamental need, or dramatically reduce the cost of something everyday or common, you have a chance to build a company that grows at an exponential rate. Here are five companies that have done just that, identifying a clear problem in people’s lives and offering the sort of simple, elegant solution that leads to fast adoption and even faster growth.

Up Next: How Your Favorite Brands Reinvented Themselves and Made Big Money