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Entrepreneurs Who Started Off As College Dropouts

Smruthi Kishore

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Entrepreneurs College Dropouts,Best Startups in India 2018,Business News 2018,Latest Startup News India,startup stories,college dropout entrepreneurs,Tech Billionaire college dropouts,Most Successful Entrepreneurs,famous Entrepreneurs college dropouts

An idea is all it takes for something great to happen, right? Right. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Walt Disney and Oprah Winfrey all have one thing in common: they worked on their idea without thinking about the risks or repercussions. Here are a few entrepreneurs who started off as college dropouts and went on to establish some really successful companies very early in life!

1. Bill Gates 

Founder of Microsoft and a college dropout, Bill Gates is one of the richest billionaires with a total net worth of $ 80 billion! Working on his entrepreneurial journey early in life by building computers for his friends in university, he quickly realised there was a lot of commercial and engineering value in exploring new software for computers. When Paul Allen and Bill Gates met on common ground at Harvard University, they realised their dreams were not just the same, but easily achievable if they worked together! Looking at the quick success of their baby, BASIC, the two realised they had in their hands (and minds) the key to unfathomable success. Allen and Gates officially created Micro-Soft in the year 1975 and a year later, when the hyphen dropped, the doors to a new world opened!

2. Steve Jobs 

When Steve Jobs started working at Atari, he was a dropout from Reed College! With a zeal for reforming the world of computers and technology, Jobs very soon, realised where his true passion lay! Moving up from Atari to Apple, Jobs created the first macintosh, Apple I and after that, there was no turning back for the man who dared to dream. Despite being kicked off from his own company, he was hired back as the CEO and ended up revolutionizing Apple’s path. When he passed away, Jobs valuation lay at a whopping $ 11 billion!

3. Mark Zuckerberg

When Mark Zuckerberg started tinkering around with a new social media platform for people to interact with on a large scale basis, he realised he could not make it big while still in college. When he started the initial ground work for Facebook in college, little did he know that he was on the precipice of making history. Despite dropping out of college, the man created something so unique, his personal wealth is now valued at a cool $ 35 billion!

4. John Mackey 

They say the way to a man’s heart is through food and John Mackey believed in that logic to the letter. He dropped out of college not once, but several times. In and out for over 6 years, the last time when he went to college was when he met the love of his life! At 25, he rejoined college to study religion and philosophy. Still not satisfied, he joined a vegetarian co op and finally discovered where his dreams lay. Food was his one true love and the recreation of this love resulted in the creation of the now really famous Whole Foods! Through the years, Whole Foods grew so quickly that at the end of the last quarter, its annual turnover stood at $ 14 billion!

5. Oprah Winfrey 

Going through more than her fair share of ups and downs, Oprah Winfrey is perhaps one of the few women from the black community to have made it big on her own. From growing up in multiple homes over the years to almost completing college, Oprah became the voice of the nation through The Oprah Winfrey Show! With a personal valuation standing at $ 2.9 billion, Oprah’s life has been an inspiration to people all over the world.

Entrepreneurs are not just made overnight, showing us college degrees are not as much a necessity as passion. If you could drop out of college and follow your dream, what would you do?

 

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The Rise And Unforeseen Fall of Snapchat

Smruthi Kishore

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In 2011, when Snapchat was launched, users thought a photo sharing revolution was in the offing. It became the app of the moment, letting users live in the moment, with no permanent record of the pictures, unless one took a screenshot and made extra efforts to store the image. However, things didn’t work the way they were supposed to, neither for Snapchat nor for the users. A couple of years post its iconic launch, Snapchat started failing miserably. While Instagram was gaining momentum, Snapchat’s users started declining and experienced a massive downfall, becoming a cautionary tale rather than a revolutionary story. The question on everyone’s mind here is, what really happened to Snapchat to make it fail so miserably?

The rise of Snapchat 

A mere 3 years after its launch, Snapchat’s rise was exponential, to say the least. The photo sharing app quickly got over a 100 million users in its first few years and between 2015 and 2016, Snapchat had more than doubled its users, falling a little shy of 300 million on a daily basis. With numbers increasing faster than any other social media platform at the time, Snapchat’s rise to success made it obvious this was not just a fad, but a lasting movement.

What made the rise so impressive was that Evan Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat and his team even started monetizing the app in creative ways. From acting as a platform that made the concept of influencers popular to convincing brands and celebrities alike that vertical videos were the next big thing, Snapchat was on the path to becoming a brand new trendsetter. To make sharing on this app all the more exciting, Snapchat introduced geofilters and started playing around with celebrity stories and creative placement of banners, monetization through this app was at an all time high. Users were happy, advertisers were happy and the core Snapchat team was ecstatic. Everything was falling in place perfectly.

The rise to fall of Snapchat 

Spiegel, as a CEO, was extremely effective. He knew what his core audience wanted and knew how to deliver the right things at the right time. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the resolve to see the bigger picture. One of the primary things which went wrong for Snapchat was they didn’t see the growth was necessary because it needed to be more than what people were doing. Spiegel refused to see beyond the data and to think beyond what was already there.

At the time Snapchat started falling, Facebook and Instagram were doing wonders. Facebook had switched their profile to timelines even before users wanted it and Instagram was upping its filter game every day. In fact, when Instagram launched its new “stories” feature (very similar to Snapchat’s existing format) in 2016, the move was in sync with Snapchat’s immediate fall.

What came as the final kick in Snapchat’s rear end was when Instagram its stories game by letting users add hashtags, geofilters, screen bursts and GIFs! Snapchat is failing to keep up the pace with the growing trends. Its revenues in the third quarter in the last fiscal have fallen by 18 %, with its users falling, instead of increasing. Every other social media app that has aped this app’s USP (Facebook and Instagram) is doing exceptionally well, essentially leaving this particular app in the dust.

Despite its very obvious decline into major disarray, Snapchat is trying to make a much needed change. Spiegel and his team are finally trying to create an interface usable not just by the younger generation, but by people above the age of 35 as well. Where is Snapchat’s future? Is it in the hands of really annoyed influencers (Rihanna, Chris Brown, Kylie Jenner) or will the team of Snapchat finally realise where the true future of Snapchat lies? What do you think is going to be Snapchat’s future? Comment and let us know!

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Apps That Should Have Done Well But Failed Miserably

Smruthi Kishore

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5 Apps That Failed,Mobile Apps Fail,Apps Failed Miserably,mobile apps that failed,top 5 failed apps,great ideas that failed,Best Startups in India 2018,Business News 2018,Latest Startup News India,startup stories,startups failed miserably,5 Reasons Apps Fail

Technology can either be a boon or a bane, depending on how it works for your business. When the .com bubble happened, several startups did really well instantly. However, when the inevitable popping of the bubble happened, a lot of these startups failed miserably. Over the years, while we have looked at case studies of different apps which succeeded, no one really thought of stopping and looking at the apps which failed. Here is looking at some really brilliant apps and startups that should have done well, but did miserably instead.

1. Google Wave 

Google Wave, when it launched, was supposed to change the communication game forever. This app was created to help those people who thought communicating on the app store was extremely annoying. While on the front of things, this app looked exciting and promised a lot of change, it failed to make the right mark. A lot of things went wrong for Google Wave, the main reason being not a lot of people knew how the app functioned. Perhaps one of the major mistakes the makers did with this app was that they thought they could ride on the success of Google’s popularity. Unfortunately, Google Wave shut down six months after it came on the app store and clearly, their marketing strategy was not up to the mark!

2. Friendster 

Credited to be one of the first social media platforms similar to the ones we see today, Friendster came to be in the year 2002. Founded a year before Tom Anderson created MySpace, Friendster secured close to $ 50 million funding from the time of its inception. Friendster grew in popularity because it connected friends to each other and did not let you connect with anonymous people. However, it failed because the makers did not want to ride with the times and kept their user experience to a very basic level. If they had capitalised on the trends at the time, Friendster would have grown to be a really huge success. In fact, when they were at their peak, they had even gotten an offer from Google for a buyout of $ 30 million and had they accepted the buyout, the world of social media would have been quite different today.

3. GovWorks.com 

When GovWorks.com was founded, it was created with the aim of making everyone’s (from government officials’ to citizens’) lives easier. From letting government officials track their daily activities to letting citizens pay their bills, book tickets and look up information about their city, GovWorks.com had everything in place for the making of a really great connector! However, GovWorks.com failed only 3 years after its inception. Growing from a team of only 8 people in the year 1998, this platform had 250 employees when things started going bad. Disagreements and power struggles within the management, along with the lack of elimination of the software’s bugs caused the failure of this innovative platform.

4. Quixey

An example of another app that failed despite receiving a lot of funding, Quixey’s downfall was the perfect example of an app that failed because it got too arrogant with its position in the market. Quixey was designed to become the digital assistant of today, with the main aim of allowing users to find content on the different apps installed on their phones. Immediately after the launch, Quixey raised $ 50 million from Alibaba in a series C funding round. However, once Alibaba’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) went through in September 2014, the e commerce platform started reevaluating its interest in Quixey and decided it wanted out. This is when trouble started brewing and Quixey went under the gun. A couple of years later, with no investments coming through and debt piling up, Quixey was forced to downsize, eventually leading to liquidation.

5. Colour 

Aimed to be an innovative photo sharing app between friends and strangers alike, Colour was an extremely innovative app at a time when people were running on the wave of rip offs. With just the right amount of funding to back its idea, a creatively designed website and users waiting to try the new app out, Colour had it all. However, right after it launched, users started realising there was something off with this photo sharing app. Lack of privacy functions and a poorly designed interface were the primary reasons for the growing wave of disappointment in the users. However, instead of trying to fix the bugs, the app came back as an app that let users live stream videos from Facebook. Unfortunately for the makers, while the idea was innovative, the damage from earlier was too great and no one wanted to accept the new change. The lesson here? Fix what is broken and do not try new things till you know it is going to work for sure!

Apps fail all the time but what hurts the most is that if the road map for these apps were planned well, then they could have been massive successes right from the day they were launched!

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Droom Raises $ 30 Million In The Latest Funding Round

Smruthi Kishore

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Droom, an online automobile oriented startup, raised funds to the tune of $ 30 million in the latest Series E series funding round. Led by Joe Hirao, the founder of ZIGExN, this new round of funding also saw investment from an anonymous Japan based family office fund.

Through the latest round of funding, Droom plans on expanding its financial offerings, inspections and marketplace formats beyond the B2C format it currently works with. This new round of funding comes shortly after the last round, where Droom secured an initial funding of $ 30 million. From the time of its inception (four years ago,) Droom has managed to secure an overall funding of close to $ 125 million, taking the valuation of the company to a whopping $ 750 million!

Talking about the incredibly successful Series E funding round, Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder and CEO of Droom, said, “Over the past 4 years, Droom has established itself as the unchallenged leader in the online automobile transactional platform and the continued faith of global investors underlines this success. The current series E funding gives an immense fillip to us as we aim to simultaneously strengthen and diversify our services such as inspection, Droom Credit, C2C and C2B marketplace formats, enable a smooth online transaction and provide more competitive terms and interest rates to customers through Droom Credit.”

Founded in the year 2014 by Sandeep Aggarwal (also known for founding the e commerce platform, ShopClues,) Droom has done wonders since the time it entered the startup world. From revolutionising the B2C consumer market to creating a new form of travelling, Droom has done a lot since it entered the industry four years ago!

To make matters exciting, Agarwal also said the company plans on going for an IPO by 2020! Expected to enter the Malaysian and Thai markets by end of this year, Droom reported an annual income of $ 11 million in the last financial year (as opposed to the $ 3.4 million it reported in the previous years.)

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