The 10 Most Successful College Entrepreneur of All Time

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Microsoft, Facebook, Fedex and Apple. These are some of the most successful businesses in the country at the moment. They also have one other thing in common. They were all started by college student entrepreneurs.

Bill Gates
As a student at Harvard, Bill Gates had big ideas. After creating an emulator that ran on a minicomputer, Gates took a leave of absence from Harvard and went to work with friend Paul Allen at software company MITS. Gates went on to create processors and computer interfaces that are still used today, as well as some of the first widely available PCs. He then founded Microsoft, which practically monopolizes the home computer software market. As of March 2011, he was estimated by Forbes to have a networth of around $56 billion. He was listed (right after the President of the Indian National Congress and before the governor of the People's Bank of China) by the site as one of the 10 most powerful people in the world.

Mark Zuckerberg
In February 2004, Zuckerberg founded what would one day become the second most visited website in the world. He was a nineteen-year old sophomore at Harvard. Seven years from that day, one out of every dozen people on the planet would have a Facebook account. As Time Magazine wrote about Zuckerburg in his "Person of the Year 2010 Profile," "Zuckerburg wired a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S. If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest, behind only China and India." To date, Zuckerberg is estimated to be worth about $13.5 billion, making him the youngest self-made billionaire in history.

Michael Dell
As a pre-med student at the University of Texas, Austin, Dell started a small business in his dorm upgrading computers in 1984. It did well, to say the least. He went public in 1988 and is now worth around $14.6 billion. Dell's brilliance and skills as an innovator resurfaced in 2007, when, after leaving the position of CEO in 2004, he returned to help the then-struggling company make a huge turnaround. Thanks to his work, company revenues rose 5% and his own fortune is up $1.1 billion since last year.

Bo Peabody
In 1992, as students at Williams College, Bo Peabody and Bretty Hershey began working with their economics professor to design one of the original social networks. Today, it is known as It offers web hosting services that allow college students and young adult to build and upload their own sites. In 1998, Peabody sold the company to Lycos. Money in hand, he went on to become Vice President of Network Strategy, sell it, and co-found Streetmail, VoodooVox, FullTurn Media and UplayMe. He is now Managing General Partner of Village Ventures, an early stage venture firm with over $175M under management, as well as a services and knowledge sharing platform serving a network of 14 venture funds with $0.5B under management.

Steve Wozniak
In 1971, Wozniack enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley. That same year, he began to work with Steve Jobs to build "blue boxes" that enabled people to make free long-distance calls. In 1975, Wozniack dropped out of UCBerkeley to continue working with Jobs on circuit board designs and operating systems. These projects would eventually become a little company called Apple Computer. And though Wozniack left the company in 1987, he left with a fairly large share (and supposed net worth of over $45 million). Not too shabby Mr. Wozniack. 

Larry Page and Sergey Brin
They met while in grad school at Stanford in the mid 90s. Page was working on his PhD in computer science and Brin was working on his PhD in mathematics. In 1996 they left school to begin working together on a new search technology founded on one idea: that the order of websites listed on search engines should be based on relevance. This relevance was determined by analyzing the number of times a given website was linked to by other sites; the more linked a site was, the more relevant it became. In 1998, they opened Google in a garage-office in Menlo Park. Their software left beta one year later, and the rest is history. Today Google is worth billions. As of March 2011, Page and Brin are both worth about $19.8 billion.

Frederick W. Smith

Perhaps the most legendary college paper ever was authored by Frederick W. Smith. As an undergraduate at Yale, he wrote a paper outlining a delivery system that would work in a computer-dominated industry. Specifically, Smith postulated that "as society automated, as people began to put computers in banks to cancel checks--rather than clerks--or people began to put sophisticated electronics in airplanes--society and the manufacturers of the automated society were going to need a completely different logistics system" According to folklore, Smith received a C on the paper. But this didn't dissuade him. After graduating from Yale with a degree in economics, his idea became a reality when, after buying the controlling interest in an aircraft maintenance company, Smith used his $4 million inheritance to found Federal Express. In 1973, the company started offering service to 25 cities, and the mailing service we know and trust today took off. Thirty-eight years later, Smith has received dozens of honors, including 2006Person of the Year by the French-American Chamber of Commerce and CHIEF EXECUTIVE magazine's 2004 "CEO of the Year.", and, as of March 2011, he has an estimated net worth of about $2.1 billion. 

Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian

You might not recognize these names, but we bet you've heard of reddit. After graduating from UVA in 2005, Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman founded the social news website currently owned by Condé Nast Digital. Begun in a rented apartment in Medford, Massachusetts, it took the two twenty-two year olds about a month to build the first version of reddit. The company went online in June of 2005, and today it is extremely popular, its discussion areas frequently generating hundreds of comments per submission. 

Marc Andresseen

While working towards a Bachelor's degree in computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Andreessen worked part-time at the university's National Center for Supercomputing Applications. There, he and full-time salaried co-worker Eric Bina began to create a user-friendly browser with integrated graphics that would work for a range of computers. They called their new browser Mosaic. In 1993, the browser was posted for download and within weeks the software was downloaded tens of thousands of times. However, because credit for Mosaic went to NCSA for production of the software, Andreesen decided to start up his own software company--Mosaic Netscape--which he launched at the ripe old age of 23. Eventually, America Online and Sun Microsystems announced they would jointly acquire Netscape's assets for $4.2 billion. 

Jerry Yang and David Filo
In 1994, as graduate students at Stanford University, Yang and Filo started surfing the Web. They surfed a lot. At one point, the decided that they needed a means of organizing their fun. And the Yahoo! directory was born, created to help their Stanford friends locate cool Web sites. It started doing better, and Yang eventually left the school to start working at Yahoo! full time. Yang's official biography even contains the joke that he is "currently on a leave of absence from Stanford's electrical engineering Ph.D. program." Filo and Yang went public in 1996 and now claim 500 million unique users.
source: huffingtonpost
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