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Garmin co-founder shares three keys to startup success

Garmin co-founder Min Kao points to an early decision to provide insurance and other benefits to employees as one that helped his company build a strong corporate culture.

“Even when advisors said ‘no, don’t do that til you’re successful,’ but we did,” Kao (lefttold the Kansas City Star in what the outlet called a rare interview.

Kao, along with Gary Burrell, started Garmin in 1989. Today, the company that makes navigation, communication and information devices and applications employees about 3,000 individuals at its operational headquarters in Olathe, Kan.

The Star on Saturday published a story on the the rise of Garmin from “card table conversations to an employer of 9,000 workers with locations in 40 countries.” The article revolved around an interview with Kao, who The Star said agreed to it largely to advocate for the nurturing of engineering and entrepreneurial talent.

In the interview, Kao shared three things that were present for Garmin as a startup that he believes must be available for others:

  • Vision – “You definitely need a vision…and be convinced the product will provide unique value and stand up over time.”
  • Team –  “You need a team, partners who are able to translate the ideals into tangible products.”
  • Corporate culture – “Third, we’re very proud of our (corporate) culture … we’re in it for a long time, not to get rich off an idea.”

Read the full story on The Star’s website: “Success of Garmin starts with co-founder Min Kao“.


Credits: Kao photo from garmin.com

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