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[January 12, 2014]
Tech Monthly: University of Life: COLLEGE DROPOUTS: Who says you need a college education? These tech entrepreneurs ditched their college degrees - or never started them - and they did all right for themselves...
(Observer (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ELON MUSK, 42 PayPal, co-founder Worth: $8.8bn Dropped out of? Stanford Instead? Started an email payment system, X.com, in 1999, which merged with a similar service in 2000 and became PayPal. Went on to found SpaceX, which in 2008 won a $1.6bn contract from Nasa.
JACK DORSEY, 37 Twitter, executive chairman Worth: $1.2bn Dropped out of? New York University Instead? Moved to California in 1999, came up with the idea for Twitter, built the site and posted the first tweet. Over 10 billion messages have followed. Also founder of mobile-based payment system Square.
SHAWN FANNING, 33 Napster, co-founder Worth: $7.5m Dropped out of? Northeastern University Instead? Created Napster in 1999 at the age of 19, with the help of Sean Parker who managed to secure the funding. Changed the worldwide sharing of files and within a year had 20 million users.
BILL GATES, 58 Microsoft, co-founder and chairman Worth: $76.8bn Dropped out of? Harvard Instead? Founded Microsoft. After supplying the operating system for IBM's new PC, he refused to transfer the copyright, so he dominated the market when other businesses copied IBM's hardware.
EVAN WILLIAMS, 41 Twitter, co-founder Worth: $1.5bn Dropped out of? University of Nebraska Instead? Started selling tutorial videos to help people get onto the internet. Credited with inventing the term "blogger". In 2006 he teamed up with Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone to create Twitter.
ARASH FERDOWSI, 28 DropBox, co-founder Worth: $400m Dropped out of? Massachusetts Institute of Technology Instead? Left MIT to found DropBox with fellow student Drew Houston in 2007. Starting as just a few lines of code written in a bus station, it has now drawn in over 200 million users.
LARRY ELLISON, 69 Oracle Corporation, co-founder and CEO Worth: $41bn Dropped out of? University of Illinois and University of Chicago Instead? Set up Oracle Systems Communications. By 1986, it was valued at $55m.
STEVE JOBS Apple Inc, co-founder and CEO Worth: $8.3bn at his death aged 56 in 2011 Dropped out of? Reed College Instead? Spent 18 months sleeping on friends' floors and getting free meals from the Hare Krishnas. Four years after dropping out, Jobs set up Apple Computer. After resigning from Apple in 1985, Jobs went on to set up NeXT Inc. (later bought by Apple for $427m) and Pixar (worth $7.4bn). Returned to Apple in 1996 to eventually become CEO. Jobs applied - unsuccessfully - to become a civilian astronaut and fly on the space shuttle.
MICHAEL DELL, 48 Dell Inc, founder, chairman and CEO Worth: $15.3bn Dropped out of? University of Texas Instead? Set up "PCs Limited". He employed three people to make the computers. By 1996, Dell Inc was reporting $1m in sales per day.
ALEXA VON TOBEL, 29 LearnVest, founder Worth Has raised $25m funding Dropped out of? Harvard Business School Instead? Using experience gained from her time at Morgan Stanley von Tobel set up a personal finance website for women.
Told CBS that when she dropped out: "My family thought I was crazy pants." EVAN SPIEGEL, 23 Snapchat, co-founder Worth: $210m Dropped out of? Stanford Instead? Started a PhD in physics in 2012, but dropped out after two days to work on Snapchat, which he started a year earlier with Robert Murphy. A year later, an estimated one in 10 Americans have downloaded the Snapchat app.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, 29 Facebook Inc, co-founder, chairman and CEO Worth: $19bn Dropped out of? Harvard Instead? Created Facebook in one month, launching it in February 2004. Facebook was floated in 2012 at a value of $104bn and announced it had a billion users.
DANIEL EK, 30 Spotify, founder and CEO Worth: $310m Dropped out of? Royal Institute of Technology Instead? Founded his first company at 14; a millionaire by 23. He set up Spotify with Martin Lorentzon in 2008. He was CEO for [micro]Torrent, the most popular BitTorrent client.
DAVID KARP, 27 Tumblr, founder and CEO Worth: $300m Dropped out of? Bronx Science high school Instead? Started a software consulting company. Karp started work on a microblogging platform, and launched Tumblr in 2007.
PAUL ALLEN, 60 Microsoft, co-founder Worth: $15bn Dropped out of? State Washington University Instead? Started Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975. After their operating system was used for the IBM network, it became standard for all PCs.
PETE CASHMORE, 28 Mashable, founder and CEO Worth: $95m Dropped out of? Never attended university Instead? At 19 he founded Mashable, a news and social media website. By 2012 Time listed him as one of the 100 most influential people.
SEAN PARKER, 34 Napster, co-founder Worth: $2.1bn Dropped out of? Never attended university Instead? Recruited by the CIA, by the end of high school Parker was making $80,000 a year and so never attended university.
(c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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