Are you contemplating whether or not you should attend college? One significant advantage of attending college is that it is the perfect place to start a business.

On the other hand, if you do not start a business, it could be the environment where a lucrative business idea is born.

Phil Knight, the Founder of Nike, completed a research paper for a seminar on entrepreneurship on importing Japanese shoes while at Stanford. This idea at college led to the birth of the corporate giant Nike. I have completed an article on Phil Knight’s career and life story. Feel free to read about his incredible entrepreneurial journey.

Below are 7 highly successful businesses which started while their founders were at still at college.

Facebook Inc.

This online social media and social networking giant was launched on February 04th, 2004. Its founders are Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew Mc Collum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The company started while these individuals were students at Harvard University.

According to Facebook Newsroom, the company employed 37,700 full-time employees as of March 31, 2019. The average daily active users are 1.56 billion as of March 31, 2019. Furthermore there were 2.38 billon monthly active users on Facebook as of March 31, 2019.

Reddit Inc.

This business was founded by University of Virginia roommates Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005. Reddit Inc. is a discussion website which features a wide range of topics. These include movies, career, fitness and books for name a few.

As per the Reddit’s website, as at November 12th, 2017, there were 330 million average monthly active users.


WordPress is a content management system created by Matthuew Charles “Matt” Mullenweg and Mike Little. Mullenweg was 19 years old and a freshman at the University of Houston.

According to, there are several notable companies that rely on WordPress for content management. These businesses include corporate giants such as Facebook, TechCrunch and SONY.

Snap Inc.

Snap Inc. is a camera company which provides messaging services Snapchat which allows users to communicate with each other. Its founders Evan Thomas Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown were all students at Stanford University at that time.

The financial results as at March 31, 2019 confirmed that daily active users were 190 million. First quarter revenue increased to $320 million. In April 2019, Snap Inc. has expanded into games which allow friends to play mobile games together.


Yahoo was stated in January, 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo. Both Jerry and David were electrical engineering graduate students at Stanford University. Jerry Yang and David Filo created a website named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the world wide web.”

This guide was a directory of websites organised by hierarchy. In April, 1994, the website was officially called Yahoo. Yahoo stands for “yet another hierarchically organized oracle.”


Frederick W Smith was a Yale University student when he wrote a paper which was the blueprint of FedEx in 1965. He presented a system for moving time sensitive shipments.

FedEx is admired today as a global brand. Currently, the business offers a portfolio if solutions in logistics, freight and express services worldwide. The company services 5 regions outside the USA being Canada, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Indian Sub-continent and Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Dell Technologies

Michael Dell began his business informally while attending the University of Texas as a pre-med freshman. He convinced his parents to drop out of college using his first financial statements. Dell was aged 19.

At the time of writing, Dell Technologies has 7 brands. These are Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, Secureworks, Virtustream and VMWare. These all offer specific solutions in the technology sector such as cybersecurity, business solutions, storage and data protection technologies.

Final Thoughts

This article summarises well known and highly successful businesses that were started while their founders were at college.  Whether or not you decide to attend college, is usually a first major decision of your career.

From these examples above however, going to college could be the soil in which you find your career vision. If you found this article valuable, I will be grateful if you can share it and leave a comment. For access to our free resource library with career templates, guides and checklists, click HERE to fill in the form. Thank you in advance for your support as I grow my blog.

Highly Successful Businesses Started By College Students

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *