10 Successful Entrepreneurs Who Started In College

| May 18, 2011 | 2 Comments

The common line of thought is that a career does not start until after college. Many college students have summer jobs and work study positions, but very few consider these careers. While graduation is traditionally the time in which people start discussing careers, many individuals have successfully begun their careers in the midst of their academic pursuits at college.

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs throughout history began their business ventures in the dorms and classrooms of colleges and universities. With some of the most intelligent and creative individuals all thinking within four brick and mortar walls, universities are bound to turn up some ingenious entrepreneurial notions. These are 10 of the most successful entrepreneurs in history who started their companies in college.




1. Larry Page and Sergey Brin: While these two names may not sound immediately familiar, the company that they founded certainly will. Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the founders of Google. They met in college while pursing their PhDs in mathematics and computer science. Becoming fascinated with search engines and data mining, the rest will go down in history.

2. Mark Zuckerberg: While many expected this name to top the list, I just could not bring myself to put The Zuck above Google. However, with his story now widely known after a major motion picture, various documentaries, and several biographies, Zuckerberg is nonetheless phenomenal. Founding Facebook as an Undergraduate student at Harvard, Zuckerberg revolutionized social interaction in our society today.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

3. Michael Dell: While in college as a pre-med student, Michael Dell started his small business Dell Computers. This small business soon became the personal computing giant, Dell, worth billions of dollars. Dell was named the youngest CEO to ever have his company ranked in the Fortune 500 in 1992 and has a net worth of over 13 billion dollars.

4. Bill Gates: Widely known as one of the smartest and richest men in the world, Gates was once a brainy college undergrad at Harvard. Gates has founded various super companies, including Microsoft, Apple, and others. But it all began when he was in school, messing around with computer interfaces and processors.

5. Frederick W. Smith: Though he did not actually launch his company while he was in college, Smith wrote a paper as an undergraduate at Yale detailing the future of delivery service. Smith’s paper was the young skeleton of the later uber successful package carrier FedEx.

6. Marc Andreessen: At one point, Netscape was the dominant web browser on the market. Andreessen was a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign when he developed the concept for the browser. Andreessen fully released Netscape after he graduated when he was only 23 years old.

7. Steve Wozniak: Known as “the other Steve” of Apple, Wozniak co-founded Apple computers with Steve Jobs when he was a student at the University of California Berkeley. Apple Computers became one of the largest and most successful computer companies in history. What began as a product to impress members of the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California would soon take the world by storm.

8. Bo Peabody: As students at Williams College, Bo Peabody and Brett Hershey, began their design for what is known today as Tripod.com. This site was dedicated to web hosting services for college students and young adults.

9. Shawn Fanning: As a student at Boston’s Northeastern University, Shawn Fanning developed the file sharing system Napster while working at his uncle’s internet company. Though Napster ran into several legal issues, the company was still hugely successful and revolutionary for its time.

10. Zach Kaplan and Keith Schacht: Though not as widely known as the other names on this list, these two entrepreneurs founded two companies as students at University of Illinois. Inventables creates “how-to” materials for entrepreneurs, inventors, and engineers and Lever Works, Inc. develops internet applications.

 

About the Author:

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges . She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @ gmail.com.

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  1. Kelly says:

    They all seem to be men, I am not sure if that was intential but I am wondering if there is a list of women that have started companies in college – I think that would be an interesting list.

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  2. Kevin Cullis says:

    Great article and pointing out that you may not need a college education to be successful. Would be nice to know who’s “up and coming” in the area of entrepreneurship. But that is another post, right? 🙂

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