Steve Conine and Niraj Shah met as high school students attending a summer program at Cornell University. They both went on to study engineering at Cornell and quickly struck up a friendship while they were freshmen living in the same dorm. During their final semester of college, Steve and Niraj both enrolled in a class on entrepreneurism which sparked a business plan that turned into their first company and, ultimately, became the foundation for founding and building several businesses in the technology sector.
Image used in Inc. Magazine. Photo Credit: Levi Brown
In 2002, the duo founded Wayfair on a shoestring budget in a spare bedroom of Steve's house. By carefully analyzing Internet search patterns and results, Steve and Niraj recognized a market opportunity to sell stereo racks and stands online. What would grow to become the largest ecommerce destination for home furnishings and décor started with just one single website and soon grew to more than 250 standalone sites selling everything from barstools to birdhouses.
In 2011, Steve and Niraj took a giant leap and moved all of their e-commerce sites into one mega destination for the home and named it Wayfair. By the next year, Wayfair had exceeded $600 million in annual revenue and was well on its way to becoming a household name offering millions of products across a wide array of styles and price points. In 2014, Wayfair exceeded $1.3 billion in annual revenue and now offers 7 million products from over 7,000 suppliers across five distinct brands - Wayfair.com, AllModern, Birch Lane, DwellStudio and Joss & Main. The company has quickly become a go-to destination for home furnishings and décor in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Germany. Steve and Niraj continue to build Wayfair into their biggest business endeavor yet still innovating every day to create the ultimate home goods shopping experience.