9 incredibly successful companies founded by military veterans

sam walton

  • Some of the world’s most recognized companies have founders who
    served overseas. 
  • The companies include retail giant Walmart, whose founder Sam
    Walton served as an Army captain.
  • Here are other successful businessmen with roots in the
  • Visit Business
    Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It should be no surprise that skills learned in the military
such as decision-making under pressure, organization, and
leadership translate well to the corporate boardroom. 

People like FedEx CEO Fred Smith or Walmart founder Sam Walton
have become household names for their business success. Less known
is their service prior to founding major companies.

After World War II,
nearly 50% of veterans
went the entrepreneurship route, though
that number has substantially declined today. Still, there are
currently around 2.5
majority-veteran-owned businesses.

Here are nice companies started by military veterans.

Paul Szoldra wrote a previous version of this article.

man built a cutting-edge stealth boat for the US Navy. Then the
government tried to put him out of business.

Real-estate giant RE/MAX was cofounded by Air Force veteran Dave

Prior to founding “Real Estate Maximums” — better known as
RE/MAX— Dave Liniger served in the
Air Force during the Vietnam War.

From 1965 to 1971, he served as an enlisted airman in Texas,
Arizona, Vietnam, and Thailand, according
to his LinkedIn.

“The military really gave me the chance to grow up. It was fun.
I thought it was a fabulous place,” he
Airport Journals. “It also taught me self-discipline and a
sense of responsibility.”

After he got out of the military, he started flipping houses for
profit, and eventually got his real-estate license. He cofounded
RE/MAX with his wife Gail in 1973.

Sperry Shoes was founded by Navy veteran Paul A. Sperry.

You can thank a former sailor in the US Naval Reserve for
inventing the world’s first boat shoe.

In 1917, Sperry joined the Navy Reserve, though he didn’t stay
very long.
He was released
from duty at the end of the year at the rank of
Seaman First Class. 

Still, his experience there and further adventures sailing led
to the founding of his company, which eventually created the first
non-slip boating shoe. He founded Sperry in 1935.

During World War II, the Navy purchased Sperry Top-Sider shoes by
the boatload. Nearly a century later, they are still a favorite of
sailors everywhere.

FedEx was founded by Marine Corps veteran Fred Smith.

Back before FedEx was the behemoth logistics company it is
today, founder Fred Smith was observing how the military was
getting things from point A to point B.

After graduating from Yale University, he was
as a Marine Corps officer and served two tours in
Vietnam. He earned a Bronze Star, Silver Star, and two Purple
to US News.

Only two years after he left the Corps, he started Federal

“Much of our success reflects what I learned as a Marine,” he
for Military.com. “The basic principles of leading people are the
bedrock of the Corps. I can still recite them from memory, and they
are firmly embedded in the FedEx culture.”

Walmart was cofounded by Army veteran Sam Walton.

Walmart is
the largest retail company
 in the world.

It was founded by a former Army intelligence officer named

Sam Walton
From 1942 to 1945
, Walton was in the Army and eventually rose
to the rank of captain. His brother (and cofounder) Bud served as a
bomber pilot for the Navy in the Pacific.

According to the company’s history, Sam Walton’s first Walmart
store, called Walton’s Five and Dime, was started with $5,000 he
saved from his time serving in the Army and a $25,000 loan
his father-in-law. Walton passed away in 1992.

Web-hosting company GoDaddy was founded by Marine Corps veteran Bob

The company responsible for registering a large portion of the
world’s web domains, GoDaddy, is the brainchild of Marine veteran
Bob Parsons.

Parsons enlisted in the Corps in 1968 and later served in
Vietnam, where he earned a Combat Action Ribbbon, the Vietnamese
Cross of Gallantry, and the Purple Heart for wounds he received in

“I absolutely would not be where I am today without the
experiences I had in the Marine Corps,” he writes on his

In 1997, he started GoDaddy. In 2014, it filed for a $100
million IPO.
He left the company around
 that time to focus on his
philanthropic efforts.

WeWork was founded by Israeli navy veteran Adam Neumann.

Coworking company WeWork’s CEO
Adam Neumann
served in the Israeli navy.

Adam Neumann started a coworking office space
for entrepreneurs
in New York City back in 2011. Today, the company has 466,000
members across 28 countries, and it is valued at $47 billion.

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Neumann served as
a navy officer
 there for five years before moving to the US in

Taboola was founded by Israeli army veteran Adam Singolda.

Another veteran of the Israel Defense Forces is Adam Singolda,
the founder of content-recommendation engine Taboola.

many other successful
Israeli entrepreneurs who served in the
IDF (military service is
mandatory in Israel
), Singolda developed many of the skills
that would help his company later on in the military intelligence

He ended up serving
for seven years as an officer
with the elite Unit 8200, the
Israeli military’s version of the NSA.

He started Taboola back in 2007, and you’ve probably seen his
work under the many millions of articles that feature “Content You
May Like.” The company
projected over $1 billion in revenue
 as well as profitability
in 2018.

Kinder Morgan, a North America energy infrastructure company, was
cofounded by Army veteran Richard Kinder.

Vietnam veteran Richard Kinder cofounded one of the largest
energy companies in North America, Kinder Morgan. Along with his
business partner, William Morgan, he started the company in

He earned his law degree at the University of Missouri before
in Vietnam as a US Army captain. He was in uniform for
four years as a
Judge Advocate General officer
(aka a military lawyer).

USAA was founded by a group of Army officers.

It may not be a huge surprise that USAA — a company
that exclusively caters
to military veterans and their families
— was started by veterans.

Interestingly, though, it doesn’t have just one founder: It has

Back in the 1920s, it was pretty hard for military service
members to get (or keep) auto insurance, since it was either way
too expensive or likely to get canceled because they moved around
so much.

That’s why Maj. William Henry Garrison and 24 of his fellow Army
officers got together in 1922 to form their own mutual company to
insure themselves,
to Encyclopedia.com. Today, the United Services
Automobile Association provides insurance, banking, and investment
services to
12.4 million members.

Disclosure: Former Business Insider editor Paul Szoldra has USAA
insurance and use its banking services.

Source: FS – All – Economy – News
9 incredibly successful companies founded by military veterans