For most young people, university or college can be the most transformative periods of their lives. Whether it’s living away from home, meeting new people or trying new things, the experience plays a massive role in shaping an individuals personality and mindset. Alot of people spend their time partying away, with few focusing on creating real value by using the resources these institutions provide. In this article we will look at those who did the latter and subsequently created some of the most important companies in the world.
Facebook – Harvard University
Currently Boasting a user base of 1.86 Billion, Facebook is one of the most visited websites in the world today. However, the origins of this gargantuan company can be traced back to the Harvard dorm room of current CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The dramatic origin story is infamous, gaining increasing notoriety thanks to the Hollywood biopic, The Social Network. Though Zuckerberg is the face of the company, it is a bi-product of the collaborative work of a team of talented Harvard students. Facebook initially started in 2004 of as social networking platform for Harvard students, with half of the student body joining in a matter of days. Fast forward 13 years and it is now the world’s most popular social media platform, boasting a user base of 1.86 Billion people. Initially the idea of a few students at Harvard, Facebook now has market cap of $400 Billion and its founding CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth stands at $56.7 Billion.
Google – Stanford University
Google was founded in 1998 by Stanford students Sergey Brin & Larry Page, who first met at a tour of the college campus. Unbeknownst to them at the time, they would go onto found the most popular, reliable, safe and accurate search engine on the web today, boasting 1.17 Billion users globally. After their initial meeting, the two became close friends and created Google as PHD students working on Stanford’s Digital Library Project. In 2016 the company underwent restructuring and google became an umbrella company under the new brand, Alphabet. As of 2017, the organization is the second most valuable company in the world, with a market cap of $591 Billion.
WordPress – University Of Houston
When someone mentions WordPress, you automatically think content, blogs and websites. The idea for this revolutionary open source project was conceived at the University of Houston, by students Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. WordPress has gone onto revolutionize the online content space and now powers around 25% of whole internet. As of 2017, WordPress is CMS (Content Management System) of choice for 27.5% of the top 10 million website on the internet, not bad for a company started by two students in their freshman year.
Dell – University of Texas, Austin
Launched in 1984 from the University of Texas dorm room of a computer mad Pre-Med student, Michael Dell. Originally named PC’s limited, the company re-branded to Dell in 1988, as it debuted on the Stock Market following the success of its 10 MB Turbo PC. The IPO raised $30 Million and gave the personal computing Start-Up a valuation of $85 Million. By 1997 Dell had shipped 10 million PC’S and was one of the biggest names in personal computing. After enjoying massive growth for more than two decades, company growth has dipped and in 2013 company went private, for a deal of over $20 Billion. Not too shabby a return on investment to say Dell started the venture with an initial investment of $1000.
Yahoo – Stanford University
In 1994 Jerry Yang and David Filo, both Stanford Phd candidates created “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. This was a list of both of their favorite websites and a precursor to one of the biggest internet companies of the tech bubble. As their initial idea gained traction, they realized the potential and created Yahoo, the first public search engine for rapidly acquiring information. It soon became one of the most used websites on the internet with over 130 Million unique daily users in nineties. Fast forward to 2016 and Yahoo was in turmoil, with two major security breaches which exposed the data of over 1 billion users. This was the final straw and the company that acquired over 114 companies was bought out by Verizon in a deal of around $4 Billion. Yang left the company in 2014 and Filo now serves as the Chief of the board.
Snap Inc – Stanford University
Stanford has been the incubator from which some of the biggest global tech organizations have arisen. After joining the Kappa Sig fraternity in 2008, Evan Spiegel was introduced to Bobby Murphy, by Reggie Brown. It was Reggie, who was later expelled from the company, came up with the idea for Snapchat, telling Spiegel how he wished he could make pictures he sent to a girl disappear. Initially launching in 2011 as Pictaboo, it was renamed Snapchat and in the space of a year gained 100,000 users, mainly from schools and colleges. After raising a seed round of $425,000 in 2012, Spiegel dropped out of Stanford to focus on Snapchat. By 2013 its popularity had grown so much that Mark Zuckerberg offered to buy the company for $3 Billion, an offer Spiegel rejected. 4 years on, Snapchat hosts 301 million monthly users and after its parent company Snap Inc. went public, the organisation is valued at $25 Billion.
Dropbox – MIT
Frustrated by the limited ability of email in sending and receiving large files, MIT students Arash Ferdowski and Drew Houston founded the file hosting platform, Dropbox. Since launching in 2007, Dropbox has become the tool of choice for sharing and storing large files in a secure manner. As of 2015 Dropbox has 500 million users and was once valued at $10 Billion, a figure which has since been revised to half that value. Many predict that Dropbox will IPO in 2017, not bad for an idea that was thought up on a bus journey.