The story of Mark Zuckerberg, who launched Facebook in 2004 from his Harvard dorm room and is now estimated to be worth 31.6 billion, is familiar to many. Although his current net worth at age 29 is staggering, the amount of young adults who have made millions of dollars after coming up with popular and innovative websites and web-based businesses is greater than you might think.
There are dozens of individuals who have made millions of dollars by the age of 25 in the tech world, including people who had a great idea for a website and the technical savvy or connections and friends to make their ideas a reality. Aside from the famous Zuckerberg, here are ten other people who launched a website that with some hard work and a little luck, earned them millions by their 25th birthdays.
Sean Belnick, BizChair.com, $42 million
In 2001, at age 14, Belnick launched a website – with the help of a $500 investment from a family member – to sell chairs online. Three years later, his business had made him a millionaire and he moved into a large commercial warehouse space. After he graduated from business school in May 2009, he took on a role as the company’s CEO. In 2012, the company’s revenue was $129 million and Belnick currently has a net worth that is estimated to be around $42 million.
Juliette Brindak, Miss O and Friends, $30 million
As a teenager, Juliette created the website that is now known as “Miss O and Friends.” The site began as an online community that was meant for girls who feel they have outgrown more childish topics such as Barbie, but are still too young to talk about teenage issues or interact in teen environments. This online community fulfills this niche market by enabling tweens to socialize, talk, take polls, enter contests, ask for advice, and publish stories within a safe environment. Now at age 25, Brindak is still the CEO of the website and is worth an estimated $30 million.
Cameron Johnson, various websites, Over $1 million before graduating high school
After taking on several successful small business ventures before he was even a teenager, in 1997, the then-teenager started a couple of websites: one was an email forwarding site and another was an online advertising company. The sites earned Johnson hundreds of thousands of dollars a month. He eventually sold his advertising company, and before he graduated high school, his assets were worth more than $1 million. In college, he created another web-based business called certificateswap.com and earned another six-figures off of the idea. Now, he’s a well-established businessman, author and gives talks about entrepreneurship.
Jermaine Griggs, hearandplay.com, $5 million
A music fan, Griggs wanted to create a website to help people learn to play music by ear without reading sheet music. After tweaking the concept for his site a few times, his concept finally took off. In only a few years, his online lessons became so popular that he was rolling in millions of dollars in revenue. He earned his first million by age 23, and now has an estimated net worth of around 5 million dollars.
Susan Gregg-Koger, Modcloth, $15 million
In 2002, Susan Gregg-Koger set up a simple online shop so she could sell some of the clothes she no longer wanted in her closet. She realized that she had a niche market and an online clothing shop could be a lucrative endeavor, so she continued to run an online clothing shop from her student housing at college. Her then-boyfriend (now husband) helped her set up the ecommerce site and she hired one part-time employee to help her package and ship the orders. This concept turned into a success: when she graduated from college in 2006, she was getting enough web traffic to pursue her web-based retail business full time. Now, she is at the helm of the multi-million dollar business with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh.
Matthew Mullenweg, developer of WordPress / Automattic, $40 million
Mullenweg began blogging back in 2002, posting photos from a trip he had recently taken. When the development of the platform he was using was discontinued, he began work on a new blog platform, now known as WordPress. He was only 19. His work on WordPress ultimately took off: Mullenweg dropped out of his political science program in college to take a job at CNET Networks. In 2005, at age 21, he quit the job and founded Automattic, which is the company that established the web-based blogging site WordPress.com, Akismet, Gravatar, and many more other sites and web development tools. Today, his net worth is $40 million.
Matt Mickiewicz, websites including SitePoint, 99designs and Flippa, $100 million
Polish-Canadian Internet entrepreneur Mickiewicz created his first website at age 14, which later became known as SitePoint. The website provided web resources for developers. At only 16 years old, he had $10,000 in advertising deals and could barely keep up with high school along with the demands of his web business. He focused on his business full-time after graduating high school. In 2008, he created the site 99designs and raised $35 million in capital. Finally, he launched Flippa.com in 2009, which became the largest site for buying and selling websites. By 2012, he had an estimated net worth of $100 million.
Emerson Spartz, GivesMeHope, OMG-Facts
At age 12, Emerson Spartz launched the popular Harry Potter fansite “MuggleNet” which ultimately led to a lucrative career as a website creator. Before he graduated college, riding on the wave of popularity of his fan site, he penned a book about the Harry Potter fandom that hit #2 on the New York Times Children’s Bestseller List. In 2007, he revealed that he had a six-figure income. After graduating from college in 2009, he launched Spartz Media and founded the site GivesMeHope, then in 2010 launched OMG Facts. His media empire has over a dozen websites.
David Karp, Tumblr, $200 million
Karp began his career working in animation and then as a freelance software consultant in his early 20s. During a break between contracts, he started to work on a microblogging website, calling it Tumblr. Tumblr launched in 2007, when he was only 21 years old. The platform quickly became popular and millions of blogs were established on Tumblr within a year. In May 2013, Yahoo! Acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Karp stayed on after the acquisition as CEO of the site. Karp’s net worth is currently estimated at around $200 million.
Angelo Sotira, deviantArt, $75 million
In 2000 at age 19, Greek-American entrepreneur Angelo Sotira founded the online community called deviantArt, launching it along with a small group of friends. The community allows users to share photographs, artwork and other multimedia and discuss the works with a large community of artists and fans. The site also provides tutorials and stock photography, has blogging capabilities and professional portfolios. By 2008, deviantArt was attracting 36 million visitors and by 2011 it was one of the largest social networking websites on the web. His net worth is currently estimated to be around $75 million.
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