It’s not uncommon for an entrepreneur to have many failed businesses in their past by the time they find their stride. Colonel Sanders, the founder of fast food giant KFC, didn’t get his start until he was already in retirement! In fact, his first social security check became part of his startup funding.
Even so, there are those at the opposite end of the spectrum: people with such natural business acumen and talent, they experienced success early in life.
In the case of these entrepreneurs, very early — while they were still students!
This infographic lists the top 10 most valuable startups founded by students, including the year each was founded, the total value of the enterprise, revenue and market cap.
Topping the list, of course, is a little company called Microsoft, founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975 while they were still students at Harvard University. Gates actually dropped out to pursue his dream. With a total enterprise value of over $281 billion, the technology brand took in over $93.58 billion in revenue for its 2015 fiscal year and, after a period of downsizing, employed over 117,000 people.
Although he’s no longer the largest shareholder in the company he founded, Bill Gates is one of the wealthiest men on the planet, known for his philanthropy.
Oh, and he did receive his degree — 32 years after leaving Harvard, he was awarded an honorary degree.
One thing you’re going to find interesting (although maybe not surprising) are the number of technology companies on this list! The students who have created the most valuable companies have done so almost exclusively in tech.
Matt Mullenweg, for example, was a student at Houston University when he created WordPress. And I’m sure you’ve heard of Sergey Brin and Larry Page…but did you know the search engine that would become Google was born of their musings while studying together at Stanford?
Check it out — these are the 10 most valuable startups ever founded by students:
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Originally published on Inc.com
These 10 Student-Founded Startups Are the Most Valuable of All Time was originally published in Marketing and Entrepreneurship on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.