12 Major Companies You Didn’t Know Started in Boston

Companies Started in Boston

Silicon Valley is home to tech giants while New York City is full of wall street bankers and executives; what does that leave Boston with? Our favorite city boasts some well-deserved bragging rights having been the starting grounds for a number of multi-billion dollar companies. You’ve probably already heard about some of these powerhouses but there’s at least a few companies started in Boston that will leave you both surprised and proud to be a Bostonian.

1. Converse – Malden, MA

Converse Chuck TaylorsFounded over 100 years ago, Converse is one of the most iconic all-American footwear companies in the world. It seems as though with every 10 feet you walk, you bump into someone rocking a pair of Chuck Taylors with the company’s signature All Star logo. Now its world headquarters overlooks downtown Boston by North Station.

2. Dunkin’ Donuts – Quincy, MA


Ah, Dunkin’ Donuts. Their catchphrase may be “America Runs on Dunkin’,” but we all know they really mean “Boston Runs on Dunkin’.” Since you’ll find a Dunkin’ on nearly every block in the city, it makes sense that the billion dollar company was founded in Quincy.

3. DraftKings – Boston, MA

DraftKings, Boston

Photo courtesy of DraftKings’ Facebook page

The leading franchise in daily fantasy sports, DraftKings, took the fantasy sports world by storm when it hopped on the scene in 2012. Now, only four years later, this Boston-based company gives away millions in prizes and reportedly took in $1.2 billion in entry fees in 2015.

4. New Balance – Brighton, MA

New Balance Sneakers

Founded in 1906 as an athletic shoe company specializing in arch support, New Balance is based out of Brighton and has netted billions of dollars in footwear, apparel and sponsorships.

5. Staples – Brighton, MA

Staples Inc

Staples has satisfied every back-to-school need since the 1980s and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. As the world’s first supermarket for office supplies, Staples has been a neighborhood staple since the first store opened in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood.

6. Johnny Cupcakes – Hull, MA

With founder Johnny Earle opening his first store offering an exclusive t-shirt collection in Hull came a massive cult-like following of loyal customers eager to get their hands on the brand’s limited-edition products. This guy made, and still makes, millions by selling t-shirts with cupcakes on them; don’t you wish you were that cool?

7. TJX Companies (TJ Maxx, Marshalls) – Framingham, MA

TJ Maxx, TJX Companies

This discounted retail empire dominates the designer markdown industry with its affordable clothing, accessories and home goods. Their headquarters may be in Framingham but you can find Marshalls and TJ Maxx all over the country.

8. BJ’s – Natick, MA

BJ's wholesale club

BJ’s Wholesale Club is a member-only shopping depot that was founded somewhere near the Medford/Malden area and moved to Natick, where it is now headquartered. It may only service New England and much of the east coast, but it is beloved by its devout customer base.

9. TripAdvisor – Newton, MA


As the leading pioneer in travel services, TripAdvisor is everyone’s one-stop hub for travel guides, top-rated hotels and customer recommendations. Based just west of Boston, it’s hard to imagine a world without TripAdvisor. 

10. J.P. Licks – Jamaica Plain, Boston

A photo posted by J.P. Licks (@jplicks) on

No one likes ice cream as much as we New Englanders do, which is proved by the sheer number of ice cream chains that have started around here. The first J.P. Licks opened in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston and has kept every sweet tooth happy ever since.

11. Emack & Bolio’s – Brookline, MA


Another ice cream staple in a Bostonian’s diet, Emack & Bolio’s has Ben & Jerry’s beat by three years in terms of who started first. The parlor, now famous for its outrageous cones and inventive flavors, started out of a basement in Brookline as a cure for the midnight munchies.

12. Gillette – Boston, MA

Gillette Razor Company

Gillette was one of the very first companies to put safety razors on the market. It’s roots are in Boston and the company pays homage by sponsoring the stadium that our favorite NFL team plays in, Gillette Stadium (home of the beloved New England Patriots).


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