Top 10 Most Successful Student Startups


When it comes to new businesses, particularly digital ones, most of the world-class ones were started by college students. However, the road that goes down to success isn’t an easy one. Most of the people who came up with these ideas had to drop out of school to focus on their enterprises. 

Therefore, if you are thinking of starting a new business venture, you need to be up for any kind of challenge that life may throw your way. In this article, we have put together a list of the 10 best companies – from Bill Gates to Evan Spiegel – that was initiated by students, sometimes even in a dorm room.

We hope that you will draw some inspiration from them and will soon be on your way towards a business venture.

  1. Microsoft

Microsoft was founded by Paul Allen and Bill Gates. It all began when the programming geniuses met in high school. Gates went to Harvard University but Allen convinced him to drop out and work on their software. 

When they licensed their software, MS-DOS to IBM in 1981, it all came together and their hard work came to fruition. 

  1. Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg was an Ivy League undergrad – he was a sophomore there – when he began Facebook as a means to help his fellow students connect with each other. What began as a sophomore dating website in 2004, became a site with over 1 billion users just seven years later.

  1. Yahoo

Yahoo was the brainchild of two Stanford University graduate students, David Filo and Jerry Yang. This site was launched three years before any other search engine came on the scene. It began as a directory of the favorite sites of the founders and then expanded on to become a huge platform.

Even though the site has been struggling, it is still one of the biggest social media platforms today. 

  1. Reddit

Reddit was the brainchild of Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, two college graduates from the Uni of Virginia. It started out as a social news site in 2005. Even though the startup struggled initially, it was then funded by Y Combinator and in 2006, Conde Nast Publications acquired it.

You will find it hard to believe that just over a year later, the startup was sold in millions to Conde Nast and the two friends became millionaires at the young age of 23. With over 430 million visitors monthly, it is the 5th most visited site in the United States. 

  1. WordPress

WordPress came into being at the Uni of Houston in 2003. A very popular blogging software – the b2/cafelog – was discontinued. Two of its uses – Mike Little & Matt Mullenweg – decided to create a new platform with the help of the original software. 

The company has evolved amazingly and by 2019, over 60% of all the sites were using WordPress. 

  1. Tripod

This web hosting service was the brainchild of Brett Hershey, and Bo Peabody, two students of Williams College in 1992. It was for college freshmen and provided access to resources such as help with resume writing, free essay samples, tools and resources for site building, etc. Later on, Lycos bought Tripod.

  1. Google

Sergey Brin & Larry Page were both graduates of an Ivy League school. When they founded it in 1998, they had a very hard time juggling their studies and their startup. They tried to sell the site to Excite but Excite declined.

Good for the founders, right?  The first office of the company was a garage in California and they had a bright blue carpet there along with a ping pong table – a tradition that you can use at Google to this day.

  1. Time Magazine

Henry Luce and Britton Hadden launched Time in 1923 when they were grad students at Yale University. There was no weekly magazine in the United States. It grew to become one of the largest circulated magazines in the world, with a readership of more than 26 million.

  1. Napster

Shawn Fanning was a graduate student at Northeastern University when he started Napster as a file sharing network. Very quickly, the platform was shut down temporarily due to some copyright issues. However, the business became an online music store and was later acquired by Rhapsody. 

  1. Dell

Michael Dell was an undergrad at Texas University when he created Dell. In the start, he took $300,000 dollars from his family and dropped out of college to work on his big idea for a computer system. Now, Dell is the number 1 shipper of monitors all over the globe as well as the 6th largest organization in Texas.

Final Word

These individuals encountered various challenges. However, they never gave up on their dreams. Therefore, we wish you good luck on your journey as an entrepreneur and hope that you don’t give up either and make your mark in the world!


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