How many times an idea struck to you while at college? Look at the ones who got started building companies from the college! We got the best of the world for you.
#10 WordPress (valued at $1.16B)
In January 2003, Matthew Charles and Mike Little started WordPress from the b2 codebase. They were soon joined by original b2 developer Michel Valdrighi. Matthew was nineteen years old, and a freshman at the University of Houston at the time.
After dropping out of college and working at CNET Networks from 2004 to 2005, Matthew Charles quit that job and founded Automattic, the business behind WordPress.com
#9 Time Magazine (valued at $1.39B)
Time magazine was created in 1923 by Briton Hadden and Henry Luce, making it the first weekly news magazine in the United States. The two had previously worked together as chairman and managing editor respectively of the Yale Daily News. They first called the proposed magazine Facts. They wanted to emphasize brevity, so that a busy man could read it in an hour. They changed the name to Time and used the slogan “Take Time–It’s Brief”.
Nightly discussions of the concept of a news magazine led Luce and Hadden, both age 23, to quit their jobs in 1922. Later that same year, they partnered with Robert Livingston Johnson and another Yale classmate to form Time Inc. Having raised $86,000 of a $100,000 goal, they published the first issue of Time on March 3, 1923.
#8 Reddit (valued at $1.7B)
In June 2005, Reddit was founded in Medford, Massachusetts by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, both 22-year-old graduates of the University of Virginia. The team expanded to include Christopher Slowe in November 2005. Between November 2005 and January 2006 Reddit merged with Aaron Swartz’s company Infogami, and Swartz became an equal owner of the resulting parent company, Not A Bug. Condé Nast Publications, owner of Wired, acquired Reddit on October 31, 2006, and the team moved to San Francisco.
#7 Yahoo (valued at $4.8B)
In January 1994, Yang and Filo were electrical engineering graduate students at Stanford University, when they created a website named “Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web”. The site was a directory of other websites, organized in a hierarchy, as opposed to a searchable index of pages. In March 1994, “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web” was renamed “Yahoo!”, the human-edited Yahoo! Directory, provided for users to surf through the Internet, being their first product and original purpose. The “yahoo.com” domain was created on January 18, 1995.
The word “yahoo” is a backronym for “Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle” or “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.
#6 Dropbox (valued at $10B)
Dropbox founder Drew Houston conceived the Dropbox concept after repeatedly forgetting his USB flash drive while he was a student at MIT. In a 2009 “Meet the Team” post on the Dropbox blog, he wrote that existing services at the time “suffered problems with Internet latency, large files, bugs, or just made me think too much.” He began making something for his personal use, but then realized that it could benefit others with the same problems.
Houston founded Dropbox, Inc. in June 2007, and shortly thereafter secured seed funding from Y Combinator. Dropbox officially launched at 2008’s TechCrunch Disrupt, an annual technology conference.
#5 SnapChat (valued at $29B)
Reggie Brown brought the idea for a disappearing pictures application to Evan Spiegel because Spiegel & Bobby Murphy, who had experience coding while at Stanford University. The three worked closely together for several months, and launched Snapchat as “Picaboo” on the iOS operating system on July 8, 2011.
#4 Dell (valued at $67B)
In 1984, at the age of 19, with $1,000 in capital from his family, Michael Dell founded PC’s Limited, a seller of IBM PC compatible computers, while a student of the University of Texas at Austin and operated the company from his dormitory room.
In July 1985, the company produced the first computer of its own design, the 10 megabyte Turbo PC, which sold for $795, undercutting IBM. After a positive article in PC Week, the company was selling 1,000 machines per month. Michael Dell appeared in PC’s Limited advertisements in national magazines, asking readers to “give us a chance to show you what [its products] can do”. Dell’s family went on to lend him $500,000 to fund the growth of the company, but the loans were repaid in 1986.
#3 Facebook (valued at $430B)
Facebook was launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.
#2 Microsoft (valued at $500B)
Childhood friends Paul Allen and Bill Gates sought to make a successful business utilizing their shared skills in computer programming. In 1972 they founded their first company, named Traf-O-Data, which sold a rudimentary computer to track and analyze automobile traffic data. While Gates enrolled at Harvard, Allen pursued a degree in computer science at Washington State University, though he later dropped out of school to work at Honeywell.
Gates and Allen officially established Microsoft on April 4, 1975, with Gates as the CEO. The original name of “Micro-Soft” was suggested by Allen.
#1 Google (valued at $600B)
Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford University in Stanford, California.
Page and Brin originally nicknamed their new search engine “BackRub”, because the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a site. Eventually, they changed the name to Google, originating from a misspelling of the word “googol”, the number 1 followed by 100 zeros, which was picked to signify that the search engine was intended to provide large quantities of information. Originally, Google ran under Stanford University’s website, with the domains google.stanford.edu and z.stanford.edu.
The domain name for Google was registered on September 15, 1997, and the company was incorporated on September 4, 1998. It was based in the garage of a friend (Susan Wojcicki) in Menlo Park, California. Craig Silverstein, a fellow PhD student at Stanford, was hired as the first employee.
Note : The valuations are as of July 11, 2017.