One of the best times to start a business is when you are in school. Below are some businesses that started in school and today they are on the list of the most successful businesses in the world. So if you find yourself in school, it’s an opportunity to start without too much risk; we never can tell, you may get on the list too.
Founder(s): Michael Dell
College: University of Texas at Austin
Year Founded: 1984
As a freshman majoring in pre-med at the University of Texas at Austin, 19-year-old Michael Dell founded a computer company then, named PC’s Limited with only $1,000.He wanted to sell personal computers directly to consumers based on how each customer wanted his/her own (customized) – something that really hadn’t been done before. He threw his focus into the idea that providing custom PCs to anyone and everyone was the way of the future and, well, the rest is history. Today Dell computers is worth $57.2 Billion
Founder(s): Arash Ferdowski & Drew Houston
College: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Year Founded: 2007
Drew Houston founded online file-sharing service Dropbox seven years ago. The firm is now estimated to be worth about $10bn (£5.9bn). While at MIT , Arash Ferdowski and Drew Houston became tired of email’s inability to send and receive large files. They decided the system needed a solution and, as a result, they founded Dropbox.
Dropbox is a file sharing service, which allows users to store and send large files. The company has quickly risen the ranks to become the leader in file sharing and what began as a small, simple idea has significantly grown to allow team collaboration, onboarding/offboarding, secure file sharing and more.
Dropbox has over 300 million subscribers throughout the globe sending and sharing files and many simply utilize the service to store documents for safekeeping.
Founder(s): Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum & Chris Hughes
College: Harvard University
Year Founded: 2004
If you don’t know the story of Facebook, probably you live in a cave. However, to omit Facebook from a list of college startups would be unheard of. Just in case you haven’t heard, here’s the story in a nutshell:
Genius Mark Zuckerberg creates a social network while attending Harvard, drops out to focus on the website full-time which actually turns out to be a great decision because he’s now one of the most successful innovators of modern day. Zuckerberg’s estimated net worth at the ripe old age of 30 years is currently $34.4 billion (let’s just note that’s more billions than years).
Founder(s): Larry Page & Sergey Brin
College: Stanford University
Year Founded: 1998
It all began on that first campus tour at Stanford, where Larry Page and Sergey Brin met for the first time. They never knew they were going to reshape the whole world with regards to how things are searched for. The pair became friends and later went on to develop the idea for the world’s most powerful and effective search engine while they were PhD students working together on the Stanford Digital Library Project.
The name “google” is a play on the mathematics term “googol,” which describes a number that’s a one followed by one-hundred zeros.The company has grown from practically zero to over $367.6 Billion today.
Founder(s): Bill Gates & Paul Allen
College: Harvard University
Year Founded: 1975
Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft shortly after leaving Harvard to pursue the computer software company full time. Today, the software company is now an empire that paved the way for modern day technology and innovation. He practically re-sized the computer.
Currently, Gates’ net worth is $77.2 billion making him the richest man in the world according to Forbes. Then again, he did reshape the way the world sees computers and technology.
“such as the meaning of his name is Bill Gates, which means the gate of the money…“
Founder(s): Shawn Fanning, Sean Parker & John Fanning
College: Northeastern University
Year Founded: 1999
It’s not the same as it once was but, at its peak, Napster served up to 80 million users. That’s pretty impressive. Not to mention it changed culture and the way the world downloads music through the peer-to-peer network platform, where friends could share music.
If you weren’t around at the time to witness it, record companies and artists came begging when Napster unleashed its software for free MP3 downloads.
Eventually, Napster came falling down due to law suits of copyright infringements, pirating and intellectual property issues (yes, it was illegal but it wasn’t so crystal clear at the time). Now we know the laws.
Founder(s): Steve Huffman & Alexis Ohanian
College: University of Virginia
Year Founded: 2005
Founded as an information sharing website, Reddit was conceived of by two University of Virginia students.There’s one simple thing that distinguishes Reddit from other information sharing websites: users have the ability to vote on the content.
Now known as the “upvote” system, users have an influence on what appears at the top of the site, which obviously gains the most exposure.
The site is now among the most popular in the world, going from startup to receiving more than a billion page views monthly.
As of 2006, Reddit was purchased by and became a subsidiary of Condé Nast.
Founder(s): Evan Spiegel & Robert Murphy
College: Stanford University
Year Founded: 2011
It all started with a bad decision to send a photo. When a frat brother entered Spiegel’s room to chat about a photo he regretted sending, the two discussed how it would be easier if the photo magically disappeared once the recipient viewed it. If you haven’t heard about Snapchat, it’s an app where users are able to take photos or record videos and add on text or draw. Then, you send the photo or video to a recipient(s) with the app (and has accepted you on Snapchat).
Spiegel took Snapchat as his final project for a product design class at Stanford, and pitched the idea for a mobile app that permanently deletes photos and texts after opening them. His classmates balked and thought it was a terrible idea. Four years later, Snapchat has become one of the hottest social media apps on Earth, drawing in millions of daily users and a valuation somewhere around $15 billion.
Additionally, users are able to determine the length of the time the recipient(s) can view the “Snap” (photo or video) – anywhere from one to ten seconds. If a recipient decides to take a screenshot of the photo you sent via Snapchat, you will be notified – thus safeguarding users against the distribution of any embarrassing or unsavory photos.
As of May 2014, “the app’s users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day, while Snapchat Stories content was being viewed 500 million times per day,” according to Wikipedia.
Founder(s): Matt Mullenweg & Mike Little
College: University of Houston
Year Founded: 2003
It’s the free blogging site – platform – that changed it all. As an Open Source project, WordPress can be freely used, changed, and shared (in modified or unmodified form) by anyone.
It’s no secret that ideas are spread and shared with the help of blogs but, without the help of free platforms like WordPress, that capability wouldn’t exist. It transformed the way websites were created, making it possible for everyday people to have them too. Simply put, it changed the way everyday people access the internet from looking at it, to shaping it.
Blogging may have exploded in the early 2000s, but there’s no sign it’s slowing down just yet. According to the site, WordPress is currently the most popular online publishing platform – powering over 20% of the web. That’s a network of more than 409 million people who view more than 15.5 billion pages monthly.
WordPress users publish 41.7 million new posts monthly, with blogs written in over 120 languages.
All of that, started by a college freshman. Impressive, right?
Founder(s): Jerry Yang & David Filo
College: Stanford University
Year Founded: 1994
Founded by two PhD candidates at Stanford University in 1994, what is now known as Yahoo! was originally a simple list of the two student’s favorite web sites named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.”
The website grew popularity and the two saw potential in a legitimate business venture. The exclamation mark was added because the name “Yahoo” was already trademarked.
Ultimately, Yang and Filo created the first search engine that allowed the public to readily seek information. At one point, Yahoo! was the Internet search engine. And, while it still has a major presence on the web, it’s not Google. But it was at one point and that’s important to remember.
Did you start your business in school, or are you intending to start one soon? Leave a comment below.