Revit was brought to the industry by Charles River Software founded by in 1997 in Newton, Massachusetts. The intent was to bring parametric design to the building industry through a graphic interface rather than using programming language. There were other platforms that were attempting the same thing, and many of those programs still exist.
ArchiCAD wasn't quite what they were thinking of: and so the idea for something like Revit was born.
Irwin and Leonid both worked at the Parametric Technology Corporation where if memory serves correct they worked on Pro-Engineer. They both decided around the same time (1998 or so?) to fill this void in the architectural CAD world.
Charles River Software was renamed Revit Technology Corporation in 2000, Revit 1.0 was released in the same year, and AutoDesk purchased the company two years later solidifying its place as a major player in the building industry.