10 Young Entrepreneurs Who Became Online Millionaires By Starting A Site
Pete Cashmore was born in Banchory, a small town in Scotland, on the 18th of September 1985. When he was in high school he experienced some health issues, because of which he finished high school two years late. He couldn’t go out with friends and he had a lot of time all by himself. He was a teenager experiencing a big need for social contacts. This is how social media sites became an important part of his everyday life and he was amazed by the fact about how they were changing the way people communicate. He spent a lot of time on the computer and he got really inspired by technology. This is how one day he decided to start a blog. He was 19 years old, he has no experience and no special knowledge. But he had passion. In 2005 he started Mashable.com, a small site where he wrote about new companies and technology. He was learning about business and startups while researching his stories and this is what helped him grow the blog. Today Mashable is one of the most popular IT news sites on the planet. 20 million people visit the site every month and Pete has become one of the most successful online entrepreneurs today.
Juliette was a 16 years old teenager when she created her site, Miss O and Friends. She loved making funny drawings which her mother, a graphic designer, brought to life on the computer. Both with her sister (Olivia or ‘Miss O’) really enjoyed playing with the characters they created and making them do what they wanted. This is how one day she decided to put all this online, so many other girls could enjoy it. So, in 2005, with the help of mom and dad, she created the first version of Miss O and Friends. It was a place where young girls could meet online and chat about different things from their lives, share their problems, joyful moments, and things like this. The site became so popular, that it reached the important milestone of million monthly users just in a few years.
When he was 21, Alex’s big problem was how to find enough money for his education, without enslaving himself with a loan like many students do. He took a pen and a blank sheet of paper and started thinking on the matter. After a while, he came to a simple idea – to sell 1 000 000 pixels from a web page at $1 each. This is how the site milliondollarhomepage.com came into existence. Anyone who would buy the minimum amount of advertising space of 100 pixels was promised to have his space there for at least 5 years. Initially, it was hard, but as some companies started to purchase advertising space, many other realized that this unique idea would attract a lot of attention. This is how just after a while, everybody wanted a piece of the site. Alex not only made a million dollars, but also the site became a part of the Internet history. Buying an ad there turned out to be a good investment by the way. The site is still there and it’s still visited by lots of people.
Back in 2005, two high school students decided to create an online yearbook. Catherine Cook and her brother Dave Cook were just teenagers, but their older brother Geoff was already an online entrepreneur, he was previously founded EssayEdge.com. They asked him for advice and he not only helped them organize their startup but also decided to invest $250 000 in the idea. This is how the start of one of the most popular teenage sites was put. MyYearbook quickly became a big success and by the year 2011, the founders cashed in big time. The Latino-oriented social network Quepasa bought it for $100 million. Not a bad amount for a teenage project. The site was re-branded and today operates under the name MeetMe.com.
Karp was born in New York on 6th of July, 1986. When he was 11, he started learning HTML and soon began making sites for different companies. He dropped out from high school when he was 15 and began homeschooling. He never got a diploma. He started learning other programming languages. One day he helped John Maloney, the founder of UrbanBaby.com, with a project. Maloney was so happy with the job done, that he gave Karp a job and some shares of the company. David worked there until UrbanBaby was bought by CNET. He used the money from his stake to start his own business, he founded Davidville. He hired his first employee, with whom they wrote the first version of their microblogging platform during a gap between two customer orders. It took them just two weeks to do it. Tumblr was officially started in February 2007 and just after a few weeks, the site had around 75 000 users. Karp stopped working on other customer projects to dedicate his time entirely to his new blogging system. On May 20, 2013,!Yahoo acquired Tumblr for the jaw breaking $1.1 billion. David has remained the CEO of the company since then. Today, more than 209 million blogs are hosted there.
Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith
Box.net is an online cloud storage service based on the freemium business model. They have an app for the most popular mobile devices and currently offer 10 GB of free space with each personal account. The company, founded in 2005 by Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith, today has more than 700 employees and revenue of around $124 million for 2013.
Naveen was born on the 27th of January 1982, in India. He graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts getting a computer science degree. Then he worked for some big and famous companies like Nokia and Sony for a while. In the year 2009, Selvadurai and his friend Dennis Cowley founded the popular today mobile app – Foursquare. It’s a location-based mobile social network which you can use to search for shops, restaurants, nightlife events and other places in the area around you. The application can even give you advice according to the time of day, displaying dinner places in the evening, places where you can have a breakfast in the morning and many cool things like these. Today, Foursquare has more than 45 million users from around the world and revenue of around 20 million in 2013.
Andrew Mason was born in 1980, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When he was 15, he had a morning delivery service named Bagel Express. After high school, he got a music bachelor’s degree in Northwestern University in 2003. During that time he worked for a guy named Eric Lefkofsky as a web designer. They started a social platform called ‘ThePoint’, but it was not successful at all. This is how they decided to transform it into something else. And guess what, in November 2008 Groupon was born. Since then, the site has closed more than 6 million deals. In 2010 Google offered the amazing $6 for the company, but the offer was rejected. In 2011, the company went public gathering $700 million from selling shares to investors. Today, the company has more than 10 000 employees and around $2.5 billion in revenue.
Jennifer Carter Fleiss
After graduating from the Yale University, Jennifer Fleiss went to Harvard Business School where she got her MBA. This was where she met one of the most important persons in her life – Jennifer Hyman. In 2009, they both founded Rent the Runway, a company offering you the opportunity to rent high-end designer clothes online. A cool deal for everyone, who wants a refined look and doesn’t want to spend loads of cash about that. This great idea turned out to be a great business. It has raised $54 million in capital so far, and by the year 2014, Rent the Runway has around 250 employees and more than 4 million registered members.
When he was just 12, Emerson Spartz started a site about Harry Potter called MuggleNet. The site became so popular, that Emerson Spartz decided to write a book about his favorite movie hero that reached #2 on the New York Times Children’s Bestseller List. In the year 2007, Emerson shared that he has a modes 6 figure income. Intoxicated by success, the young entrepreneur continued with launching some, even more successful, websites. After he graduated from college, in 2009, he started Spartz Media (his media company) and then the site GivesMeHope. A year later he launched OMG Facts. Today, Emerson Spartz own a web empire of websites that bring some nice money home.
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