The 10 Best Tech Companies Started In College
Entrepreneurship and creating your own worth is the most valuable course of action one can take in today's world and this is something that Generation Y has proven can work.
Since the age of the internet we have seen some ordinary college kids do some extraordinary things. So put down the bong and take a look at what can be accomplished if you put in the work.
So what the hell are you waiting for? These are the 10 best tech companies started in college.
10. Rap Genius
The former Yale students who founded Rap Genius used technology and artistic validation to cash out on hip hop. Friends Mahbod Moghadam, Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory received $15 million from Andreessen Horowitz to bring intellectual validation to hip hop’s lyrics. Those long nights of studying infused with Adderall and ganja may have you hooked onto Rap Genius for more hours than you actually spend studying. Numbers don’t lie, as Rap Genius has 500,000 views per day. Trailing pornography and Facebook, lyrics are among the most searched content on the internet.
While working towards a Bachelor’s degree in computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Andreessen worked part-time at the university’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications. There, he and full-time salaried co-worker, Eric Bina, created a user-friendly browser with integrated graphics that would work for a range of computers. In 1993, the browser was posted for download and within weeks the software was downloaded tens of thousands of times. However, because credit for Mosaic went to NCSA for production of the software, Andreesen decided to start up his own software company — Mosaic Netscape — which he launched at the ripe old age of 23. Eventually, America Online and Sun Microsystems announced they would jointly acquire Netscape’s assets for $4.2 billion.
The North Eastern University student, Shawn Fanning, created the first easily downloadable interface. Napster introduced the modern world of easy piracy. Before torrents and porn pop ups, downloading illegal music was effortless. For the first time we learned two things that would forever shape history: Metallica are crybabies and stop using P2P downloads, they are too easily traceable.
WordPress is perhaps the most underrated tech startup of the last decade. As a freshman at the University of Houston, Matt Mullenweg had ambitions to mold the way we communicate in 2013. While all the attention may be driven to the Facebooks of the world, WordPress remains one of the most widely used platforms across the internet. Without his ability to take blogging to the next level, the rise of digital media publications would be different.
In 1995 Stanford graduate Jerry Yang made one of the most important marketing moves of the last decade. He renamed his initial project, the “Guide to the World Wide Web,” to “Yahoo!” Graduating as electrical engineers, Jerry Yang and David Filo would set precedence for how information on the web is delivered. The word's general definition comes from Gulliver's Travels which means “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.” The original URL was akebono.stanford.edu/yahoo.
There has been no generation who has benefited from technology as much as Generation-Y. With readily accessible tools and information via mobile and WiFi, we clearly have a competitive advantage against generations past. As a pre-med student at the University Of Texas, the idea of being able to sell personal computers directly to consumers in 1984, was ambitious to say the least. Not only did he change the game in how computers were accessed, but when the company went public its “market cap went from a scant $1,000 to $85 million instantly. Today, Dell pulls in $60 billion in revenue. The only thing stopping you from success is laziness.
Before he was a tech billionaire, he was your typical Harvard nerd. Bill Gates reminds us why you should be nice to the social recluses in school. Not only will you curse the day you ever disrespected them, but you’ll dream to work for them. How smart was he? He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT and enrolled at Harvard College in the autumn of 1973. While at Harvard, he met Steve Ballmer, who later succeeded Gates as CEO of Microsoft.
In 1971, Wozniack enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley. That same year, he began to work with Steve Jobs to build “blue boxes” that enabled people to make free long-distance calls. In 1975, Wozniack dropped out of UCBerkeley to continue working with Jobs on circuit board designs and operating systems. While he may not garner all the attention of the legendary entrepreneur Steve Jobs, he was just as much of the brains of the operation.
While the infamy of a tech startup may suggest that college dropouts have all the ambition in the world, it doesn’t hurt to be a graduate student. Sergey Brinn and Larry Page were Ph.D. students at Stanford when they met and began Google. By creating the first all-inclusive search engine. Since 1998, Google has taken over YouTube, grossing $50 billion in revenue in 2012.
While the famed Harvard grown startup gained the highest pre-IPO evaluation in history, it’s not the dollar sign that has impressed us the most. The greatest impact that Facebook has had on Generation-Y is Justin Timberlake playing Sean Parker. Not only did they make tech entrepreneurship the sexiest thing since the G Unit, but they validated a generation of entrepreneurs. Understanding that hard work pays off over everything and there is no better revenge than sonning your ex girlfriend left an indelible impact on our generation. The Social Network has had on Generation-Y had as much of an impact on our generation of as Scarface did in the 80’s
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