“Zappos was founded by Nick Swinmurn in 1999. The initial inspiration came when he couldn’t find a pair of brown Airwalks at his local mall. That same year, Swinmurn approached Tony Hsieh and Alfred Lin with the idea of selling shoes online. Hsieh was initially skeptical, and almost deleted Swinmurn’s voice mail. After Swinmurn mentioned that “footwear in the US is a 40 billion dollar market and 5% of that is already being sold by paper mail order catalogs,” Hsieh and Lin decided to invest $500,000 through their investment firm Venture Frogs. The company was officially launched in June 1999, under the original domain name “”

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