Jeff Bezos was not always the richest man in the world. Mark Zuckerberg was not always as successful. Also, Bill Gates was not always the philanthropist that we all know him to be. Some of the tech founders have started other ventures that did not quite make it before they started this one. Others started one company and managed to succeed at it.
Here is a compilation of some of the most popular tech company founders and how old they were when they first started out.
Jack Dorsey – 23 years old
He founded Twitter at the age of 23 back in 1999. He is a two-time university dropout. Dorsey first attended the University of Missouri-Rolla. While there, he hacked into the website of a company and found a security flaw. The founder hired Dorsey immediately, and he had to move to New York. He then enrolled at NYU where he dropped out too after he moved to San Francisco to launch a software company. The company flopped, and Twitter came about six years after.
Elon Musk – 24 years old
Musk, alongside his brother, Kimbal, founded a company that provides online city guides to newspapers in 1995. A computer company called Compaq bought Musk’s company four years after. He later went on to start some other companies. One of them was X.com, which merged with PayPal. Now he owns Tesla, an electric car company; SpaceX, a space delivery company; and The Boring Company, an infrastructure and tunnel construction company.
Michael Dell – 21 years old
Dell started Dell Technologies from his dormitory at the University of Texas. He was only in his first year. He started a side hustle where he re-vamped computers for a fee. It then turned into a profitable full-time job which made him convince his parents to let him drop out of school.
Mark Zuckerberg – 19 years old
Zuckerberg started what he called “Thefacebook.com” at the time from his room at the university in 2004. He was schooling at Harvard University at the time, but he dropped out later that year to concentrate on developing the social network. He has now, through it, acquired WhatsApp and Instagram too.
Pierre Omidyar – 23 years old
He founded his first company in 1991. This was after he graduated from the University. He had co-founded a pen-based computing company called Ink Development. He did this with some friends and later rebranded as an internet software shopping company called eShop. Microsoft later bought that one in 1996 for $50 million. He later went on to launch eBay formally in 1995.
Bill Gates – 16 years old
Bill gates founded his first company in 1972. He was in high school when he and his friend Paul Allen launched a business called Traf-o-Data. The company helped with analysing the flow of data on roads in Washington. They went on to launch Microsoft in 1975 after they both graduated high school and dropped out of the university. The first company, Traf-O-Data, later failed and they both decided to focus on Microsoft.
Jerry Yang – 25 years old
Yang and Yahoo co-founder David Filo went to school together, and the tech founders took an electrical engineering PhD class together. The started working on Yahoo as a side project to keep track of their best links online. They later launched the site and called it “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. This, they did from a campus trailer in January 1994. The pair got their first one million hit in the same year.
Evan Spiegel – 22 years old
Spiegel founded his first company in April 2011 as an idea for his project design class at Stanford University. His class at the time thought the idea was awful. However, in the summer of the same year, this tech founder, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown launched Snapchat. The app was named “Picaboo” at the time. The app was built from Spiegel’s dad’s LA home. He later went back to school to finish his degree in 2018.
Jack Ma – 29 years old
He founded his first company in 1994. This was after he quit his English teaching job at a local university to launch a translation company. He called the company Haibo. Jack Ma visited the United States in 1995, and came in contact with his first Internet-connected computer. He is now the founder of eCommerce site Alibaba.
Steve Jobs – 21 years old
Jobs met his co-founder, Steve Wozniak, through a mutual friend in 1971. The tech founders didn’t become friends until later when they worked together on a small technology project. They later shared a similar interest in the computer at Homebrew Computer Club meeting in 1975. The two turned their hobby into Apple soon after.
Jeff Bezels – 30 years old
Bezos started the online bookseller, Amazon.com, in 1994. This was after he left his job at hedge fund company D.E. Shaw. He moved to another city with his wife to set up the company. Now, Amazon goes beyond selling books and has grown to be a very successful company.