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11 Famous Companies Founded By College Students

Satyajeet Vispute Mar 22, 2020
It isn't just Facebook or Microsoft that were established by collegians. Read on to learn about these, and other top companies in the world which were established by college students.

Did You Know?

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, had a difficult time juggling their PhD studies and working on their startup company at the same time. They decided to sell it to Excite for $1 million. Lucky for them, Excite CEO George Bell rejected their offer.
While homesickness, examination jitters, peer pressure, social anxiety, etc., are enough to fill-up the plates of most college students, there are some youngsters who manage to find time to do something a little extra, namely, start a world famous company! Here is a list of successful businesses which were started by college students.

Big Companies Founded By Students


Founder: Bill Gates
University: Harvard University
Date of Establishment: 1975
Microsoft, a household computer brand name, and one of the biggest companies in the world of technology, was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Little must they have known that their startup would one day end up becoming a billion-dollar enterprise!
The story of Microsoft began when these two programming geniuses came together during middle and high school. Bill Gates got into the prestigious Harvard University, but after completing just one year there, Paul managed to convince him into dropping out, so that they could commence their startup project - Microsoft.
Bill and Paul struggled through the first few years to get themselves established. However, they finally struck gold with their MS-DOS operating system, which they licensed to IBM in 1981.


Founders: Jerry Yang and David Filo
University: Stanford University
Date of Establishment: 1995
Nearly 3 years prior to Google, in January 1994, two electrical engineering graduates from Stanford University - Jerry Yang and David Filo, created a website which they called 'Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web;. The site was meant to be a directory for searching other websites, organized in hierarchy.
Later, in March of the same year, they renamed their website to 'Yahoo!' The term 'Yahoo' was used as an acronym to 'Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle.' Yahoo became one of the most popular search engines in the '90s, and like Google today, used to be 'the' starting point for most web users.
Due to being strong-armed by Google, this company has struggled for a number of years. Yet, it still remains as one of the first and largest websites in the world.


Founder: Mark Zuckerberg
University: Harvard University
Date of Establishment: 2004
While in his second year at the Harvard University (2004), Zuckerberg decided to build a dating website to help his fellow students connect with each other. He called his website Facebook.
Right from the day of its launch, Facebook started attracting more and more members each day, escalating from a small college project into one of the biggest names in the world of social networking. Today, Facebook has more than 2.2 billion active monthly users.

Dell Inc.

Founder: Michael Dell
University: University of Texas
Date of Establishment: 1984
Back in 1984, Michael Dell was an undergraduate student at Texas University. From his college dormitory room, he did business under the name PC's Limited, selling custom-built computer systems that he made from stock parts.
After Dell received $1,000 investment from his family, he decided to drop out of college and focus full-time on growing his business. In 1985, the company made its first self-designed computer system, known as the Turbo PC, which was sold for $795.
PC's Limited advertised in national computer magazines, and sold directly to consumers. It gave buyers the freedom of custom-selecting from a variety of different options while getting their PC assembled.
In its first year of production itself, Dell grossed more than $73 million, and is currently one of the largest companies in Texas. Today, Dell is a well-established name in the world of personal computers.


Founder: Matt Mullenweg
University: University of Houston
Date of Establishment: 2003
WordPress was created in 2003, when Matt Mullenweg, an undergraduate student from Houston University decided to collaborate with Mike Little and Michel Valdrigh to make a Content Management System. WordPress is an open-source and free tool written in PHP. It includes a text editor as well as several other menus to change and tweak the website design.
WordPress records a mind-boggling 131 million unique visitors per month on an average.


Founder: Larry Page and Sergey Brin
University: Stanford University
Date of Establishment: 1998
Larry Page and Sergey Brin were research students at Stanford University, California. In January 1996, they came up with a new and better web searching concept than the one which most search engines used at the time. Instead of ranking results based on the number of searches, their concept was to rank websites based on their relevance.
They named this concept 'PageRank', and developed a new search engine 'BackRub' that was based on it. Eventually, they adopted the name Google for their search engine.
In May 2011, the monthly users of Google exceeded one billion for the first time, and in January 2013, Google declared that they had earned US$50 billion in the year 2012. Today, Google is 'the' starting point for every Internet user, and also the biggest and most popular web search engine of all.


Founder: Shawn Fanning
University: Northeastern University
Date of Establishment: 1999
Napster was founded by Shawn Fanning, a grad student at Northeastern University, along with John Fanning and Sean Parker. It was developed as a peer-to-peer file sharing network. It began operations in June 1999, and soon became very popular, especially among college students who found it to be ideal for sharing their mp3 files.
However, owing to copyright infringement issues, a court order was issued to shut the service down in July 2001. The company's assets were liquefied and purchased by other companies. The name Napster however managed to survive, and it later became an online music store, which in 2011, merged with Rhapsody.

Time Magazine

Founder: Britton Hadden and Henry Luce
University: Yale University
Date of Establishment: 1923
Time Magazine, one of the most iconic and most popular magazines in the US, was launched in 1923 by two Yale graduates Britton Hadden and Henry Luce. They had previously worked as chairman and managing editor, respectively, for the Yale Daily News.
Time was the first weekly magazine in America, and after its launch, it soon became widely popular. Even today, it remains as one of the world's largest circulated weekly news magazines.


Founder: Frederick W. Smith
University: Yale University
Date of Establishment: 1971
While at Yale University, an undergraduate student Frederick W. Smith submitted a paper for his economics class. According to folklore, his professor gave him a 'C' for it, saying that such a system was highly infeasible.
On the basis of his paper, in 1971, with the help of a $4 million inheritance, plus $91 million in venture capital, Smith founded FedEx (Federal Express), which has today become one of the largest global courier services in the world.


Founder: Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian
University: University of Virginia
Date of Establishment: 2005
Reddit was founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, in 2005, when they were roommates at the University of Virginia. In 2006, it was acquired by Condé Nast Publications. Reddit, today, is based in San Francisco, California, and operates as an independent entity, although Condé Nast's parent company Advance Publications is still its largest shareholder.
Reddit is an entertainment, news, and social networking website, where users can register themselves and then submit a variety of content, including text posts, pictures, or direct links. Users can also vote in order to decide the position of the different submissions on the site's pages.


Founder: Bo Peabody and Brett Hershey
University: Williams College
Date of Establishment: 1992
Tripod began in 1992, when two classmates of William College, Bo Peabody and Brett Hershey came together with Dick Sabot, an economics professor in that college. Peabody became the CEO, and Tripod was headquartered in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
The domain name tripod.com was created in 1994, and the site was launched in 1995. It initially stylized as a cool website, made by and for college students. It offered numerous how-to advises for college students, and made available pay-services. Soon, however, tripod established its current identity, as a place where people could create free web pages.