Some people are born with a knack for business. Others take years to learn how to start and run their own companies. No matter your background, some entrepreneurs stand out as exemplars of success.
Here’s an overview of the famous entrepreneurs who have built up their companies into massive brands today:
“The thing that motivates me is a prevalent form of motivation. And that is, with other folks counting on me, it’s so easy to be motivated.” Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos is Amazon.com’s founder, former CEO, and current chairman of Amazon.com. This online retailer began its journey as an online bookstore in 1994 via a simple website where customers could order books online.
Today, the company offers hundreds of millions of products in over 50 categories, including clothing and shoes, toys and games, electronics and appliances, tools & home improvement items, along with furniture & décor products.
In addition to his role at Amazon.com Inc., Jeff Bezos serves as Blue Origin LLC’s current CEO. Here, he is focused on expanding human access to space by developing advanced propulsion technologies. These will make humanity’s first settlement on another planet (Mars) possible within our lifetime.
“It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Bill Gates
Bill Gates cofounded Microsoft and is currently in the top 10 of the wealthiest men in the world. He was born on October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington, and studied at Harvard University, where he met his future business partner, Paul Allen.
The pair started Microsoft in 1975 with an initial investment of $2,000 each given to them by their mothers. At that time, software was not a lucrative business. However, by 1980, Microsoft had become incredibly successful.
In November 1988, Gates left full-time employment at Microsoft to pursue philanthropy through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, founded alongside his wife, Melinda French Gates, shortly after they married in 1994.
Gates has remained one of America’s most influential businessmen despite stepping down as Microsoft’s chief executive officer (CEO) in 2000.
This was after overseeing its transformation into one of the world’s largest corporations. At its peak between 1999 and 2000,
Microsoft had a market capitalization value exceeding 500 billion dollars USD. This financial boom period, colloquially known as the “dot-com bubble,” burst when many startups failed due to overvaluation issues.
Such issues were linked to new technology stocks reaching unsustainable levels. This high caused stock prices to crash, resulting in bankruptcy filings for many companies, including Enron Corp., WorldCom Inc., Global Crossing Ltd., Adelphia Communications Corp., and Globalstar Inc.
“I think as a company if you can get those two things right – having a clear direction on what you are trying to do and bringing in great people who can execute on the stuff – then you can do pretty well.” Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of the social networking website Facebook. He is also the chairman and chief executive officer of Facebook-owned Oculus VR and the founder and CEO of Facebook-owned Instagram.
When he was a junior at Harvard University, Zuckerberg launched TheFacebook.com for his fellow students to use. It soon became popular among other colleges throughout the United States, spreading to over sixty countries by May 2004.
After Zuckerberg dropped out of college in 2005, he moved with his girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, to Palo Alto, California, where they rented a small house while they developed further plans for their new company.
In 2008, with financial support from venture capitalists such as Peter Thiel (who cofounded PayPal), Accel Partners ($12 million), Jim Breyer ($2 million), and others who invested $500 million into their company, they were able to offer shares on Wall Street as part of an initial public offering (IPO).
Larry Page and Sergey Brin
“If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.” Larry Page
“Coming up with an idea is the least important part of creating something great. It has to be the right idea and have good taste, but the execution and delivery are what’s key.” Sergey Brin
Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the founders of Google Inc., which launched in 1998. Page and Brin met at Stanford University, where they began their research on the Internet.
After graduation, they worked on Stanford University’s Digital Library Project for a few years.
In 1996, they founded Google to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and helpful.
“Entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you in life into capital so you can do more of it and move forward with it.” Richard Branson
Richard Branson is the founder of Virgin Group. He was knighted for his contributions to entrepreneurship.
He is an English business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies.
He started with a student magazine called Student while attending school in London.
He then began to invest in record shops, expanding the business into other areas such as music retailing and mail-order records.
1984, he sold Virgin Records for £500 million ($1 billion).
Moreover, with suggestions by Nelson Mandela, as president of South Africa, Richard Branson launched the Virgin Active brand in South Africa.
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was a co-founder of Apple with Steve Wozniak. He is considered one of the most outstanding entrepreneurs of all time.
He is also renowned for his visionary leadership, which he demonstrated by acquiring Pixar Animation Studios in 1986.
Steve Jobs’ interest in technology began at an early age; he taught himself how to program computers, creating games that earned him money on the side as a teenager.
In 1976, he founded Apple Computer with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Jobs left Apple in 1985 but returned in 1997 when they acquired NeXT Software Inc. Jobs served as CEO until 2000, when he became Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
“If you do everything everyone else does in business, you’ll lose. The only way to be ahead is to ‘be different.'” Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison is also one of the wealthiest people in the world and is co-founder and CEO of Oracle, an enterprise software company. Larry Ellison has been named one of America’s most generous philanthropists by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which tracks charitable giving nationwide.
He has donated millions of dollars to various causes, including medical research and education.
In 2011, he founded a $100 million scholarship program for college graduates who plan to pursue careers in science, math, or engineering—a move that earned him a spot on TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list that same year.
“Entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you in life into capital so you can do more of it and move forward with it.” “When you believe in something, always stick to it. Don’t give up easily because that separates the winners from the losers.” Ritesh Agarwal
Ritesh Agarwal is a 26-year-old founder and CEO of OYO Rooms, India’s largest hotel network.
In 2013, he started OYO Rooms with an investment of $10 million. OYO Rooms is a hotel aggregator that provides customers with online booking and payment facilities.
Ritesh Agarwal is an Indian businessman with over 21 years of experience in the hospitality industry.
OYO Rooms has more than 1 million rooms across 100+ cities in India. OYO plans to expand its presence globally by opening new branches within the Asia Pacific region.
This will include Singapore and Thailand as well as Europe. Its subsidiary brand ‘OYO Signature’ will focus on luxury hotels specifically located around Britain & Ireland rather than on other countries like New Zealand or Australia.
The parent company already established operations throughout those areas following the Brexit vote.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma
“There are two kinds of companies in the world: One, who build, and two, who buy.” “When you are hiring, hire them for your vision. Tell them youryour,your dream and the like-minded will get attracted to it and join you.” “If you’re up against a big guy, ignore the big guy.” Vijay Shekhar Sharma
In 2010, Vijay started Paytm with his friends as an online marketplace for local services. Paytm is India’s biggest mobile payments company by volume.
In 2014, he launched Paytm Wallet, which allows users to store money and pay for goods & services via QR codes at merchant outlets across India.
Since then, Paytm has grown tremendously, becoming India’s leading digital payment platform.
It has over 300 million users and 50 million offline merchants nationwide. The company processes over 300 million monthly transactions- almost twice as much as PayPal!
“If you’re trying to create a company, it’s like baking a cake. You have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion.” Elon Musk
Elon Musk is a South African-born American entrepreneur and inventor. He is the founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; co-chairman of OpenAI; chairman of SolarCity; co-founder of Zip2; and founder of X.com (later PayPal). As of June 2018, he had an estimated net worth of $20.8 billion.
Forbes once listed Musk as the 80th wealthiest person in the world, but Musk has risen past the top 10 and sits between first and third place. Musk attended Waterkloof House Preparatory School before graduating in 1989 from Pretoria Boys’ High School.
He moved to Canada, where he spent two years at Queen’s University before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania.
Here, he earned bachelor’s degrees in economics and physics. In 1995, Musk attained honors and a master’s degree in applied physics from Stanford University.
In the last few years, Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion to change the once-struggling social media platform.
“I don’t think ambition should not be in the dictionary of entrepreneurs. But our aim should be realistic. You have to realize that you can’t do everything.” Mukesh Ambani
Mukesh Ambani, a renowned Indian billionaire business magnate, is the Chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), which he founded in 2007 and is India’s largest private-sector enterprise.
Forbes magazine has ranked Ambani as India’s richest person since 2012–13, with an estimated net worth of $40 billion as of September 2015.
In 1982, Ambani started working for his father, Dhirubhai Ambani, and in 2002, he took over control of Reliance Industries Ltd after his father suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed.
“The reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is my focus has never, ever for one minute been money.” Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an actress, producer, and entrepreneur ranked as the wealthiest African-American woman, one of the greatest philanthropists in America, and one of the world’s most influential celebrities! She was born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi.
As a young girl, Oprah dreamed of being a news reporter. Instead, she became involved with acting when she joined the cast of “The Color Purple.” Since then, she has starred in over 30 movies, including Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013), Selma (2014), A Wrinkle in Time (2018) & Greenleaf (2016).
Oprah helped create some great television shows, such as The Dr. Phil Show, which aired in 2002 on CBS and continues to air today. Her other show was “Oprah’s Lifeclass,” which aired from 2011-2012 with 20 episodes.
Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs because they know how to take risks and make their luck.
They have an innate ability to see opportunities where others see only problems. They’re not afraid of failure because they know that failure is part of the journey toward success.
These people have all had incredible success stories, but the most important thing about them is that they have never stopped trying!