What 20+ Founders of the Most Successful Startups Look Like (the Twitter Creators Are Real Hotties)
In the past 10 years, our world has changed a whole lot. Each home is equipped with the latest technology and gadgets, and apps are an important part of our everyday life. We simply can’t imagine our day without WhatsApp, Twitter, and Instagram stories. We don’t even realize how much work and concepting is behind the popular apps or websites we know and love.
Bright Side was really curious to find out what the people who created the most successful startups look like and what they’re doing now. We’d like to introduce to you the young entrepreneurs who’ve changed our lives completely.
Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (Snapchat)
Evan Spiegel (left) and Bobby Murphy (right) co-founded Snapchat, an app for sharing photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours. They weren’t even 30 years old when they had already made more than $2.7 billion each.
Murphy is married to his Stanford university classmate Kelsey Bateman. In 2017, Spiegel married Miranda Kerr, one of the highest-paid models in the world. By the way, she’s 7 years older than Evan. In 2018, she gave birth to a boy whose name is Hart. In March 2019, mass media informed the world that the couple is expecting their second baby.
Jan Koum and Brian Acton (WhatsApp)
In September 2007, Jan Koum (left) and Brian Akton (right) left Yahoo! where they had worked for around 10 years. They both applied for a job at Facebook but got turned down. The friends decided they deserved a vacation and went to South America. Apparently, they had a really great time since, at the beginning of 2009, Jan registered WhatsApp Inc.
In 2015, Koum and Akton sold their company to Facebook (the company they once wanted to work at) for $22 billion. More than one billion people all over the world use this app today. Jan’s net worth is around $9.9 billion and Brian’s is $3.6 billion.
Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia (Airbnb)
At a point in 2007 Brian Chesky (middle) and Joe Gebbia (right) were so broke, they couldn’t even find money to pay the rent. Then they come up with an idea to lend an inflatable mattress to tourists. In 2008, these inventive roommates, together with their partner Nathan Blecharczyk (left), created Airbnb, a service for short-term living rental space. There are around 100 thousand cities in 191 countries available on the app. Each founder is worth approximately $3.7 billion.
Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick (Uber)
In 2009, 2 entrepreneurs Garrett Camp (left) and Travis Kalanick (right) were waiting for a taxi after a business dinner. That was the moment they came up with the Uber idea. Before achieving success, the company had to compete with other companies and solve problems with the governments of different countries because they didn’t have the correct licenses. Today the organization provides services in more than 76 countries, and Uber drivers have made over 10 billion trips in total.
Kalanick is worth around $4.8 billion. In 2017, he left the company and launched an investment fund called the 10100 Fund. In 2013, Camp founded the Expa company that helps young entrepreneurs launch successful projects. He’s worth approximately $3.8 billion.
Talmon Marco and Igor Magazinnik (Viber)
Talmon Marco (left) and Igor Magazinnik (right) met during their service in the Israeli army and found common ground as they were both interested in technologies. Right after their service, they founded their first startup — a media and file sharing client. In 2010, they developed Viber and in 2014, sold the app to Japanese Rakuten for $900 million.
These buddies managed to repeat their huge success one more time. In 2016, they developed the taxi service Juno, which was sold to Gett for $200 million. Now the whole world is watching them, as there’s a chance the duo will create something incredible again.
Pavel Durov (“VKontakte”, Telegram)
In 2006, 2 brothers from Saint Petersburg, Russia — Pavel and Nikolay Durov — developed vkontakte.ru, which in 2007, became the 3rd most popular Russian social media site. The service developed really fast and in 2010, there were more than 100 million users. In 2014, Pavel Durov sold his share to Mail.Ru Group and devoted all his effort and time to Telegram. There are more than 200 million people using the app, and Pavel is worth $2.7 million today.
Chris Barton (Shazam)
In 1999, Chris Barton, together with his friends Dhiraj Mukherjee, Philip Engelbrecht, and Avery Wang, created an app that could identify music. The project was several steps ahead of the whole world: iTunes, iPhone, and App Store were created several years later. Initially, Shazam users had to call a 4-digit phone number, hold their phone near the source of music, and wait for a message containing the information about the song. As technologies developed, the service got simpler, and was modified for smartphone use. The company was established in 2002 and the founders had been developing it on their own until 2017. Then, Apple offered them a good sum of money for the service.
Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, and Biz Stone (Twitter)
Initially, Twitter was a short messenger service developed by Jack Dorsey (middle) and used for a company’s internal communication. His Odeo colleagues Evan Williams (left) and Biz Stone (right) liked the idea and joined Dorsey in 2007 when Twitter turned into an independent company. By the year 2008, the number of tweets had reached 300 million a day. Today twitter.com is 11th on the list of the most popular sites.
Jack Dorsey is worth $4.5 billion. He also developed the payment company Square. Evan Williams is worth more than $2.2 billion, being the founder of Twitter, Blogger (which was sold to Google in 2003), and Medium (he works there today.) Biz Stone has a net worth of $250 million.
Palmer Luckey (Oculus)
Palmer Luckey is the designer of the Oculus Rift and founder of Oculus VR, which was sold to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014. Today he’s worth more than $750 million, and only 7 years ago, he was launching a campaign using Kickstarter for the Oculus Rift: he just wanted to earn some extra money. He was friends with John Carmack, a notable game developer famous for his work on Doom and Quake, who helped him develop the business. Carmack demonstrated the Oculus Rift prototype at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012 and attracted the investors who became interested in the idea.
Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian (Reddit)
In June 2005, University of Virginia classmates Steve Huffman (left) and Alexis Ohanian (right) founded Reddit, a social news aggregation, where content is created by its users. Initially, the friends had to create fake accounts and publish news on their own. The first real post is considered to be the moment when the service started gaining popularity.
In just one year, the platform was bought by Condé Nast, and today Reddit is one of the most influential sites and has tons of users. Ohanian has devoted himself to the struggle for internet freedom and to his family. In 2017, he married tennis superstar Serena Williams. They have a daughter named Alexis. In 2015, Huffman became the new Reddit CEO.
Alan Schaaf (Imgur)
Alan Schaaf, a student from Ohio University, didn’t like the long process of sharing pictures on the internet. In 2009, at age 22, he developed a service for storing and sharing photos that was promoted via Reddit and Digg. It’s currently the biggest image hosting website and is visited by 150 million unique users a day.
Justin Kan (Twitch)
In 2007, Justin Kan together with his colleagues Emmett Shear, Michael Seibel, and Kyle Vogt developed a video streaming platform Justin.tv where everyone could post videos. In 2011, the most popular eSports tournaments section shared a separate streaming service TwitchTv, and it turned out to be incredibly cool and profitable. In 2014, Amazon bought the company for $970 million.
Kan didn’t want to stop: in 2011, he developed Socialcam, an app that allows users to record and share videos, and sold it to Autodesk for $60 million. In 2012, Kan started Exec, an outsourcing app, and in 2015, he launched The Drop, a music platform . Since 2014, Justin has been a partner at Y Combinator where he shares his experience with young entrepreneurs.
Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim (YouTube)
According to a legend, Chad Hurley (middle) came up with the YouTube idea after he had issues sending a phone video to his friend. In 2005, Chad engaged his PayPal colleagues Steve Chen (left) and Jawed Karim (right) to work on the project. The first video, taken by Jawed at the zoo, was posted on April 23, 2005. Thanks to its simplicity, YouTube became the most popular video hosting site in the world. In 2006, the company was bought by Google for $1.65 billion.
After leaving YouTube, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley developed the MixBit service, which allows video editing via smartphones.
Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi (Dropbox)
Once, MIT student Drew Houston (left) had to travel by bus from Boston to New York. In order to not get bored, he took his laptop with him but realized he’d forgotten his flash card. He was so disappointed, he started to write a program that would allow a person to have access to files via the internet. This is how Dropbox, a service that more than 500 million people use, was invented.
In 2007, Drew together with Arash Ferdowsi (right), founded the Dropbox Inc. company. Today Huston who holds 25% of the company’s shares has a net worth of $2.3 billion. Arash has a net worth of $500 million (holding 10% of the shares.)
Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom (Instagram)
In 2010, Mike Krieger (left) and Kevin Systrom (right), 2 Stanford graduates, created the Burbn app that allows you to plan your visits to different places, check-in there, and post pictures. The app wasn’t successful, and the check-in feature didn’t become popular. But users liked to share their photos.
Kevin and Mike quickly decided what to do next. On October 5, 2010, the App Store introduced a new app called Instagram. By December, there were more than one million users. In 2012, Facebook bought the app for an “incredible for that time” $1 billion. Systrom earned $1.5 billion and Krieger earned $350 million from that deal.
What do you think plays the most important role here: someone’s creative mind or someone’s education?