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6 Super Successful Businesses Started By Siblings

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
featured, money & life

national sibling day companies

April 10 is National Sibling Day, which most of us will celebrate with a quick text to our brothers and sisters (or friends who are like siblings). But for some entrepreneurs, partnering up with their kin has led to big business success — and big, lucrative acquisitions.

Here are just a few companies founded by sibling teams. Maybe it’s time to listen to your sister’s crazy startup idea?

  • Aflac: Yup, long before there was a duck quacking its acronym, John, Paul, and Bill Amos founded American Family Life Insurance Company, which they later changed to American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, in 1955.
  • Pretaportobello: Most of us can’t make it to London to shop the newest fashions on Portobello Road — but anyone can find affordable looks from the vendors there, thanks to Pretaportobello, founded by twins Lisette and Victoria Cooper and their younger sister, Georgie.
  • Zip2: In addition to being a prolific founder and funder of huge companies like PayPal and Tesla Motors, Elon Musk is also the co-founder of a lesser-known company called Zip2, which he started with brother and restauranteur Kimbal. Zip2 was one of the first map apps that gave door-to-door directions — way before MapQuest or Google Maps. You may not have heard of it (though it’s still in business), but it was no small deal; it was acquired for $300 million in 1999.
  • PaperlessPost: Bucking the reputation that all online greetings and cards are hideous and useless, PaperlessPost features design-heavy ecards, invitations — and, contrary to the name, stationary. Founded by brother/sister team James and Alexa Hirschfeld when James was just a sophomore in college, PaperlessPost has now worked with kate spade new york and Oscar de la Renta.
  • Alandro: German entrepreneur Alexander Samwer is probably best known for investing in big companies like MyVideo (which is the German version of Facebook), but before that, he and his brothers, Marc and Oliver, founded Alandro, an online auction house which sold to eBay in 1999 for a cool $50 million
  • Disney: Heard of it? Before it was called the Walt Disney Company, this giant was called The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. Walt and his brother, Roy, founded the little shop in 1923.
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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.