How YouTube Started

Did you know YouTube was created by three former PayPal employees and was originally a dating site?

YouTube was created by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. The logo, website domain and trademark for YouTube were registered on 14th February 2005, with the original idea for it to be an online dating website. Users would be able to upload videos of them introducing themselves and saying what they were interested in, but the idea didn’t take off and the co-founders soon pivoted YouTube to become a more general video sharing site.

YouTube began life being funded by investors and was run in an improvised office in a garage. Jawed Karim uploaded the first ever video on the platform in April, showing him attending a zoo with elephants in the background. In September, a video hit a million views for the first time, thanks to a Nike advert starring footballer, Ronaldinho.

It didn’t take long for Google to see the potential in the site and in October 2006 they acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion. At the time, YouTube only had 65 employees. Adverts were rolled out less than a year later as a way to make money from the website. In December 2012, a video received a billion views for the first time. Since then YouTube has continued to grow and is now the second most popular website in the world.