Inmac (International Minicomputer Accessories Corporation), which became a publicly traded company, was founded in 1975 in Silicon Valley. The company was first listed on the NASDAQ in 1987 and later merged with MicroWarehouse in 1996.
Inmac was founded by Ken Eldred and Jim Willenborg, who met while in the MBA program at Stanford Business School. With $5,000 and a grocery bag full of connector parts, Eldred and Willenborg set out to serve minicomputer owners by mail order. After being turned down by venture capitalists, they raised $50,000 from friends and family. This bootstrapping meant the company remained closely held by the founders. The company was quickly profitable, and no additional funding was required until Inmac went public.
Inmac was the first company to sell computer-related products and accessories via direct-mail catalogs. From its initial Palo Alto, California location, Inmac expanded internationally to England (1980), Germany (1981), Sweden (1982), France (1982)the Netherlands (1984), Canada (1985), Italy (1988), and Japan (1990). By 1989, Inmac was publishing 35 million catalogs in eight different languages, as international sales accounted for more than half the company's revenue. When the company was sold to MicroWarehouse in 1996, it had 1,500 employees and annual revenue over $400 million.
Inmac instituted a number of trend-setting practices including customer calls being answered on the first ring. All items carried a one-year no-hassle return policy and a two-year minimum product performance guarantee. At all locations around the world, typically 95% of orders received by 5pm were shipped that same day most often for next day receipt. Within certain areas, deliveries would be made within six hours.
In 2005, the French subsidiary, Inmac France, was sold to the French retailer Wstore and became Inmac Wstore.