10 Successful Businesses Whilst Their Founders Were At Uni

10 Successful businesses started at University

May 3, 2016 - bellvue-admin - University Entrepreneurs

It was recently reported by Santander that up to a quarter of current UK students have started a business whilst at university.

Taking the entrepreneurial route and starting a business is a great way for students to earn an income as well as gaining business experience across a range of disciplines from marketing to accounting.

If you’re looking for inspiration for the next big student start-up, why not take inspiration from these 10 successful businesses which were started whilst their founders were still at university:

  1. FacebookFounder(s):Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum & Chris Hughes
    University:
    Harvard University
    Year Founded: 2004As if you didn’t know the story already! Famously founded as a type of “hot or not” game for Harvard students known as ‘Facemash,’ Facebook (thefacebook.com as it was then known) launched in February 2004, quickly becoming the worlds most popular social network. 
  2. GoogleFounder(s):Larry Page & Sergey Brin
    University:
    Stanford University
    Year Founded: 1998Larry Page and Sergey Brin first met on a campus tour of Stanford University before going on to launch the world’s favourite search engine. Google was founded whilst Page and Brin were PhD students working on the Stanford Digital Library Project. 
  3. SnapchatFounder(s):Evan Spiegel & Bobby Murphy
    University:
    Stanford University
    Year Founded: 2011One bad decision to send a photo sparked a discussion how it would be easier if it magically disappeared once a recipient viewed it. Initially known as Picaboo, once the brand became known as Snapchat, the app took off and is reported to have in excess of 100 million daily users. 
  4. RedditFounder(s):Steve Huffman & Alexis Ohanian
    University: University of Virginia
    Year Founded: 2005One of the world’s most popular websites, and arguably the most favoured information sharing resource do to it’s ‘upvote’ system, Reddit was first developed and launched in 2005 by two students, Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian whilst studying at the University of Virginia. 
  5. WordPressFounder(s):Matt Mullenweg & Mike Little
    University: University of Houston
    Year Founded: 2003WordPress now powers more than 24% of the web; not bad for an open source blogging platform developed by two University of Houston students just 13 years ago. Everything from simple websites, to blogs, to complex portals and enterprise websites, and even applications, are built using WordPress. 
  6. FedExFounder(s):Frederick W. Smith
    University: Yale University
    Year Founded: 1971FedEx’s founder first submitted his idea for an overnight delivery service in his economics class whilst studying as an undergrad at Yale, yet was given just a ‘C’ for his work. That paper laid the foundation for FedEx which was founded in 1971 with a $4 million inheritance and another $91 million in venture capital.
  7. DropboxFounder(s):Arash Ferdowski & Drew Houston
    University: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Year Founded: 2007Tired of the inability of email providers to send and receive large files, Arash Ferdowski and Drew Houston developed Dropbox as a solution to their own problems. Little did they know, at the time, that they would go on to launch what is arguably the world’s most popular file storage and sharing platform. 
  8. Yahoo!Founder(s):Jerry Yang & David Filo
    University: Stanford University
    Year Founded: 1994Founded by a pair of PhD students at Stanford University in 1994, what is now known as Yahoo! was originally only a simple list of the two founder’s favorite websites named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.” Arguably, Yahoo! Was the first popular search engine in the days before Google was king. 
  9. MicrosoftFounder(s):Bill Gates & Paul Allen
    University: Harvard University
    Year Founded: 1975 Founded by the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, after he dropped out of Harvard to pursue his computer software company full time, Microsoft’s rise to popularity came in 1981 when MS-DOS was licensed to IBM for use in their PC’s.
  10. DellFounder(s):Michael Dell
    University: University of Texas at Austin
    Year Founded: 1984As a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, the then 19-year-old Michael Dell founded a company which he called ‘PC’s Limited’ with only $1,000. He had a vision of selling PC’s direct to consumers and saw a rapid success by offering custom-PC’s to anyone and everyone. The rest is history and Dell is still a market leader today. 



All it takes is one great idea combined with drive and determination, as has been proven by these 10 successful university start-ups. Have something in mind? Go for it; it could well be the next Facebook or Google!

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