Meet the New Young Millionaires
Young millionaire: Mark Zuckerberg, 26
His claim to fame: Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook, which this year will bring in anywhere from $710 million to $1 billion in revenue, according to various reports. Zuckerberg’s own wealth is believed to be $4 billion — at least on paper.
His blueprint for success: Zuckerberg started Facebook from his dorm room on February 4, 2004. The Harvard student didn’t intend for his page to go beyond Harvard, but he soon recognized the appeal of being able to connect with college friends. He brought aboard his roommate Dustin Moskovitz and later classmates Eduardo Saverin and Chris Hughes, as they began expanding Facebook to other universities like Stanford, Dartmouth, Columbia and Yale. Facebook took off, first with college kids then high school students, and in June 2006, many corporations were allowed to join. In September 2006, Facebook opened the floodgates to the general public. Today, the site claims more than 400 million active users worldwide.
Young millionaire: Stacey Bendet, 32
Her claim to fame: She founded alice + olivia, a wildly successful women’s clothing line, which brings in a reported $50 million a year.
Her blueprint for success: Bendet started her business with University of Pennsylvania classmate Rebecca Matchett (alice + olivia is named after the founders’ mothers), and the collection is now sold in more than 800 stores around the world. Why the company became successful may simply be traced to Bendet’s creativity. New York once reported that while in college, Bendet Rollerbladed to a job interview dressed in orange pants and a fur bomber jacket. Today, her collections are known for being sophisticated but always adorned in a sense of fun and a little quirkiness. And what happened to Matchett? The two parted ways pretty early in their partnership, but Matchett isn’t doing so badly either — she is the co-founder of another clothing company called Rebecca & Drew.
Young millionaires: Dennis Crowley, 33, and Naveen Selvadurai, 28
Their claim to fame: They founded Foursquare, which has been valued at $80 million.
Their blueprint for success: Foursquare allows users to alert their Facebook friends and Twitter followers where they are at any given time, encouraging everyone to check out cool places they’ve discovered. Selvadurai is a software developer and Crowley knows something about social media (he sold Dodgeball, a location-based social network, to Google in 2005). Foursquare, a combination of software and social networking, is based on a very human desire: to get out and see things and share experiences with people. Selvadurai created it simply because, as he told BusinessWeek, “I live in the East Village, which has so much rich history and so much to do, and I realized that I’d seen maybe 5 percent of it. I was looking for a way to get me and my friends to go out and do more things.”
Young millionaire: Aaron Patzer, 30
His claim to fame: He created Mint.com, a money-management site. Last year, Intuit bought it for $170 million.
His blueprint for success: Patzer has always been something of an overachiever. As an undergrad at Duke University, he earned degrees in computer science, electrical engineering, and computer engineering. He later started a Ph.D. program, decided that it wasn’t practical, and got his MSEE (Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering) at Princeton instead. So maybe it isn’t a shock that he was only 25 when he created Mint.com. Still, you don’t need to have an advanced degree to understand why Patzer was successful. Everyone has money — or wants it — and Patzer created an easy-to-use site that helps people keep more of it.
Young millionaire: Andrew Mason, 29
His claim to fame: He created Groupon, a coupon site like no other. Revenue is estimated to hit $350 million in 2010, and the company has been valued at $1.2 billion.
His blueprint for success: Mason harnessed the power of collective buying action. Groupon, available in cities nationwide, offers discounts from local businesses — generally significant discounts, like 59 percent off admission to a laser-tag arcade or 67 percent off a week at a daycare center. If enough consumers respond that they’ll take a particular deal, it goes forward. If not enough respond, the business can pull the deal. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, since customers save a ton of money, businesses gets an influx of customers, and Groupon takes up to 50 percent of the cut.
Young millionaire: David Chang, 32
His claim to fame: Back in 2004, he created Momofuku, a noodle bar in New York City, which has since spawned a mini empire of line-out-the-door restaurants across the Big Apple.
His blueprint for success: Since opening his original noodle bar, Chang has expanded to several other locations, including Momofuku Ko, a 12-seat restaurant that takes reservations six days in advance, online only, and on a first-come first-served basis — infuriating some fine-dining folks who want to eat there sooner and more frequently. Nonetheless, the restaurant is always packed. Chang has also authored a cookbook, and for his creative-yet-affordable culinary creations, earned himself a spot on the 2010 Time 100 list.
Young millionaires: Chad Hurley, 34; Steve Chen, 32; Jawed Karim, 31
Their claim to fame: If you’ve ever watched a video of a cat playing the piano or Susan Boyle singing her heart out, you know these guys. Yep, they co-founded YouTube.
Their blueprint for success: Hurley worked at PayPal and talked up the idea of a video-sharing site with two coworkers, Chen and Karim. When they were given a bonus after eBay bought PayPal, they used that — along with some venture capital — to build an office in a garage. It was there, in February 2005, that they started YouTube. While Hurley, Chen, and Karim’s exact net worth is unknown, but you can do the math: Google bought YouTube in November 2006 for $1.65 billion.
Young millionaire: Kevin Rose, 33
His claim to fame: He created Digg, a content-sharing site with estimated revenue of $31 million.
His blueprint for success: Like a lot of these young millionaires, Rose tapped into the wisdom and acceptance of crowds. Rose’s business depends on people from all walks of life around the globe. In a nutshell, Digg asks people to vote on a story, asking them if they “Digg” it. Rose was featured on the cover of BusinessWeek in 2006 with the cover line: “How This Kid Made $60 Million in 18 Months.” Despite plenty of critics who question whether the site has a solid business model, BusinessInsider.com recently suggested that the company could be worth $250 million.
AND A FEW MORE——————-
1. Adam Hildreth. This young man was fourteen when he first launched a popular English social networking site called Dubit Limited. By the age of 19, the site had made him one of the richest teens in the UK with an estimated net worth of over $3.7 million. He continues in the business world today. His latest business, Crisp Thinking, is in the foreward-thinking area of Internet monitoring and online child protection.
2. Ashley Qualls. This well-known young woman took an $8 loan from her mother to purchase the domain name Whateverlife.com and by the time she was 17 she had turned it into a million-dollar business selling MySpace layouts to teenage girls.
3. Cameron Johnson. This young man is not only an entrepreneur but a skilled PR genius who has made numerous appearances on talk shows to promote his own work. He started his first business at the age of 9, made $50,000 selling Beanie Babies during the year when he turned 12 and had earned his first $1,000,000 before he had even graduated from high school. In his early twenties today, he authors books and gives lectures about how to become a teenage millionaire.
4. Catherine and David Cook. These siblings were still in high school when they created MyYearbook, a popular social networking website. The site got over $10 million in advertising sales in 2008. They were lucky to have the help of an older brother in getting started in this venture but it’s been their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit that really earned them this kind of cash.
5. Chris Phillips. Back in 2004 there was a web article about the UK’s richest teens. Most of those teens were celebrities or kids who had gotten money from their parents. However, there were also a few entrepreneurial teens on the list including Chris Philipps who had made nearly £2 million as a teenager operating his own web company.
6. Fraser Doherty. Not every kid starts their business on the web. Fraser Doherty is an example of a young man with a more old-fashioned approach to business. At age 14 he started making and selling homemade jam. Before he was out of his teens, he had managed to launch a business called SuperJam which has an estimated worth of over $2 million based on current sales of $1 million annually. With a good heart he reinvests some of that money into charity work.
7. James Murray Wells. This English entrepreneur was still in college when he saw a great business opportunity. He saw that there was no UK online retailer selling eyeglasses. He used his college loan money to start just such a business and it was successful enough to earn over $1 million during its first year in operation. By last year it was being called a “£4m-turnover recession proof” business.
8. John Magennis. This web designer began working when he was 14. He started out charging just $15 to create a website for a company. Soon he was charing $30,000 per website. Within two years of his work as a web designer he was earning half a million dollars annually.
9. Tyler Dikman. This kid was a computer genius before others took having a home computer for granted. He set up a business helping people buy and use computers. Eventually he founded a computer company called CoolTronics which earned him over $1 million before the age of 17.
10. Farrah Gray. Talk about starting young, this student was 10 when he managed to get together with a group of friends and generate over $12,000 for his young business club. By the age of 12, he had gotten his first $1 million in investment money. Between the ages of 12 and 16 he operated a number of different businesses at least one of which, Farr-Out Foods, generate over $1.5 million in income. He has continued on in business making money hand over fist and also does a variety of public speaking and authoring.
11. Juliette Brindak. By the age of 19 this young woman was worth over $15 million. Of course, it helps that she’d already been in business for nine years at this point! She founded a site called Miss O and Friends when she was 10 and has been doing well for herself ever since. At age 16, she authored a successful book and she continues to serve as an inspiration to female kids interested in business.
12. Michael Furdyk. This kid’s story is like that of many young dot.com success stories. He launched a web business, it did well and he sold it for over $1 million. That put him on the Oprah show. He was 17 at the time.
13. Matt Wegryzn. This young man made his fortune in the business of buying and selling domain names. Some of the individual domains that he’s sold have gone for over six figures each. He was 17 when he got started.
14. Paul Bourque. Have you ever wondered if the business of affiliate marketing is a lucrative one? Look no further than this 19-year-old who is earning over $300,000 per month from his work in this area of the web industry.
15. John and Patrick Collison. These brothers were 17 and 19 when they set up a software business that rapidly grew and sold for millions of dollars. They are among the richest young adults in Ireland.
16. Abbey Fleck. This girl became famous when she invented a product called Makin’Bacon at the tender age of 8. The product cooks bacon in such a way as to reduce the fat content of the food without taking away its flavor. The product was such a success that she now earns over $1 million annually in royalties from the Makin’Bacon business.
17. Richie Stachowski. At the age of 12 this boy invented something called Water Talkies which allows you to communicate under water. This is just a fun water toy but it’s done well among kids. In fact, it’s done so well that it rapidly started earning him over half a million dollars per year.
18. Mike McDonald. This enterprising young man went a different route than most teen millionaires with his talents. He got involved in the world of professional poker playing. Scoff if you want but he’s earned millions from his poker skills. He earned $1.4 million in just one large poker game last year. He was 18 years old.
19. Carl Churchill. This UK web designer has been called the British Bill Gates. He started his business at the age of 12. By 19 he was making a turnover of over one million pounds. He is predicted to be worth over £100 million by 2020.
20. Brett Klasko. This young man was only 14 when he first became a business executive. At 17 he was running a multi-million dollar financial dot-com company. He serves as an inspiration to young business people today.
21. Anand Lal Shimpi. He was just 17 when he created www.anandtech.com and it was already earning over $1.5 million dollar in ad revenue that year. It continues to be a highly successful tech business today. He remains the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of the organization.
22. Jayson Meyer. Building customized computers can be worth a lot of money as this young man knows since his company doing just that was earning over $1.5 million in revenue by the time that he was 17.
23. Ephren Taylor and Michael Stall. These two paired up to launch a business called GoFerretGo which helps teens find employment. The site was quickly valued at over $3 million. Taylor had started into business when he was only 12 making videogames.
24. William Felix. How successful can a lawnmower company be? It can be a million-dollar business if you’re good at which was proven by the success of this seventeen-year-old.
25. Sean Belnick. This kid was 14 when he spent just three days forming a business plan and creating a business called BizChair which sells office furniture and other supplies. In less than half a dozen years, he was earning $50,000,000 per year! The business consistently ranks among the top retail businesses in the world.