William Colgate was born in Hollingbourne, Kent, England, on January 25, 1783. He was the son of Robert Colgate and his wife Sarah (née Bowles). The family moved to a farm near Shoreham when William was six years old.

William Colgate came to New York City in 1804. He there obtained employment as an apprentice to a soap-boiler. He closely watched the methods practiced by his employer, noting what seemed to him to be mismanagement, and learned useful lessons for his own guidance. At the close of his apprenticeship, he was enabled, by correspondence with dealers in other cities, to establish himself in the business with some assurance of success.

In 1806 William established a starch, soap and candle business in Manhattan, on Dutch Street under the name William Colgate & Company. In 1820, he started a starch factory across the Hudson in Jersey City. William followed his goal of prosperity through life, and became one of the most prosperous men in the city of New York.

In 1833, he suffered a severe heart attack, stopping his business’s sales; after a convalescence, he continued with his business. In the 1840s, the company began selling individual cakes of soap in uniform weights. In 1857, Colgate died and the company was reorganized as Colgate & Company under the management of his son Samuel Colgate.

Today, Colgate now markets a broadly diversified mix of products in the United States and more than 200 countries. Major product areas include household and personal care products, food products, health care and industrial supplies, and sports and leisure time equipment.  Headquartered on Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

According to en.wikipedia