University is an essential place to gain the essential knowledge to walk into the best jobs on the market. For many, a university course is a great way to gain industry knowledge and to meet some of the essential cogs in the machine in so many different industries and companies.
Mark Zuckerberg — Facebook
Let’s start with the most obvious one, shall we? While the events have been dramatized by Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake in The Social Network, the creation of Facebook is the stuff of legend.
Facebook started initially as a website for Mark Zuckerberg to rate girls in his university dorm at Harvard. Though the website was hugely controversial, it planted the seed in Zuckerberg’s head for what would eventually become Facebook, a social media site for keeping in touch with friends.
Though Facebook started as Facemash and then morphed into thefacebook, it eventually grew into the biggest social media platform on the planet! Though it was initially for Harvard students exclusively, it eventually expanded worldwide with the help of investors such as Napster co-founder Sean Parker and PayPal’s Peter Thiel.
Zuckerberg started the entire idea in his dorm room at Harvard and, although he planned to return to complete his major (Psychology and Computer Science), Facebook did so well that he never returned, although he did receive an honorary degree in 2017.
Matt Mullenweg & Mike Little — WordPress
WordPress has quickly become the norm across several industries for those looking to make their own website. The appeal of the site is that even those who are not considered to be computer-literate are capable of building a professional website in as short a space of time as possible.
However, very few people know that the entire concept of WordPress was started by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little during their time at the University of Houston. Mullenweg was initially studying Political Science as was Little before the two decided to start work on an open-source software that has quickly become responsible for over 20% of the internet’s websites!
Adam Fasullo — Thinkswap
Thinkswap is an online educational platform, a platform that provides study resources, with everything from study resources, notes and subject guides and even full essays that have been written by previous students.
Thinkswap is the brainchild of Adam Fasullo and was started in 2010 while Fasullo was studying at the University of Technology Sydney. The site initially started as a way for students to share their class notes and past assignments, however, the idea took off in such a way that is now available worldwide and is has become an essential part of students preparing for university assignments.
Tim Keck & Chris Johnson — The Onion
Though the stories of how The Onion came to be, have twisted and changed over the years, one thing that is undeniable and that is that The Onion is one of, if not the most well-known satirical websites on the internet.
While it’s origin’s finer points are difficult to fully pin down, it is known that The Onion started by Tim Keck and Chris Johnson at the University of Wisconsin. The company was started after Keck secured a small loan from his mother and Johnson scrounged together some money from elsewhere.
The company has seen several comedic talents cut their teeth at The Onion such as Max Cannon (Red Meat), Megan Ganz (Community, Mythic Quest and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Ellie Kemper (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Office).
Though The Onion has attracted controversy over the years, few would have thought that a satirical newspaper would have started from such humble beginnings at the University of Wisconsin.
Steve Huffman & Alexis Ohanian — Reddit
Though Facebook and Twitter are constantly battling it out as the premier social networking site, Reddit has quickly become one to keep an eye on over the years. Reddit is mainly a social news aggregator and a chance for users to upload their own content and discussion points.
Reddit started in 2005, while the founders, Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, were on summer break from the University of Virginia. Though their initial ideas for websites either failed or were never fully realised, Reddit became the main focus and eventually developed into a full website in June 2005.
Though both Huffman and Ohanian left Reddit in 2009, the duo returned in November 2014 and July 2015, though Ohanian has since resigned as a board member in response to the recent Black Lives Matter protests.
One thing that unifies all of these entrepreneurs, is their work ethic and their dedication. Though they may have taken a different route to success, their stories are an inspiration to any budding student entrepreneurs who want to create the next big thing.