It doesn’t happen overnight. Most highly successful entrepreneurs don’t see their first million until they hit 30. However, modern times have shown that anyone with an innovative idea and a MacBook can make it big.
From the geniuses behind your favorite smartphone app, to the kings of your preferred social network, here are the 20 Most Successful Tech Entrepreneurs Under 30.
20. Nat Turner, 28, Invite Media
Net worth: $70 Million (est.) “The best time to start a company is when no one else is, in my opinion. When there’s a recession, it means people aren’t innovating.” Nat Turner’s advertising firm, Invite Media, became one of the hottest start-ups in the tech community and caught the attention of Google, which purchased the company $70 million in 2010.
19. Peter Cashmore, 26, Mashable
Net worth: $95 Million (est.) Cashmore is the founder of Mashable.com, one of the most popular news sites on the Internet that draws 50+ million monthly page views. The highly regarded website is rumored to be valued at over $200 million.
18. Matt Mickiewicz, 27, Flippa
Net worth: $100 Million (est.) Matt Mickiewicz is one of a kind. Name another tech prodigy in his 20s with three profitable business ventures under their belt…exactly. At the age of 17, he founded SitePoint.com without any investments and turned the site into a million-dollar business! From there on, he launched the crowdsourcing logo design service, 99designs, and the online website marketplace known as Flippa.com.
17. Aaron Levie, 27, Box
Net worth: $100 Million (est.) Along with partner Dylan Smith, Aaron Levie founded Box – an online storage site for enterprise companies. Box raised millions in financing, recently nabbing $125 million from General Atlantic and several other suitors, bringing its value up to $1 billion. Racks on racks on racks….
16. Ben Silbermann, 29, Pinterest
Net worth: $100 Million (est.) The former Google product designer struck gold when he launched the virtual pinboard platform, Pinterest. The five-year-old start-up had a bit of a slow start…but established a ton of momentum over the past year, drawing over 31.9 million global users! Now that the company is worth nearly $1.5 billion, expect Silbermann to rank a bit higher on next year’s list.
15. Mike Krieger, 25, Instagram
Net worth: $100 Million (est.) Mike Krieger, along with fellow Stanford graduate and co-founder Kevin Systrom, changed the photo-sharing game with their filter-heavy smartphone app. Instagram is arguably the biggest and most profitable mobile app ever created. Facebook’s billion-dollar buyout made both men filthy rich.
14. Blake Ross, 27, Mozilla Firefox
Net worth: $150 Million (est.) Mozilla’s Firefox co-creator is a college dropout who would go on to become one of the industry’s most praised figures. In 2004, Ross became a millionaire at 19 years old after his Firefox web browser racked up over 100 million downloads in less than a year. Ross currently works as the Director of Product at Facebook, making a measly seven-figure salary.
13. Tim O’Shaughnessy, 30, LivingSocial
Net worth: $180 Million (est.) Tim O’Shaughnessy got right on the daily deals train and quickly rose to the rank of conductor by creating LivingSocial.com. The IPO failure of Groupon, the site’s biggest competitor, greatly increased O’Shaugnessy’s customer demographic and raised $600 million in venture capital. LivingSocial is currently valued at nearly $3 billion.
12. Matt Mullenweg, 28, WordPress
Net worth: $250 million Texas’s Matt Mullenweg is the creator of Automattic, the company behind WordPress the premier blogging service used by countless popular sites. Mullenweg quit his job at CNET to invent the primary tool of over 70 million websites. Automattic will reportedly bring in $45 million in revenue in 2013.
11. Pavel Durov, 27, Vkontakte
Net worth: $260 Million (est.) Pavel Durov is the founder of VK, the most dominant social networking site in his home country of Russia. VK has over 100 million users, the majority of which are Russian speaking citizens who gladly dismissed Facebook in exchange for VK’s communal authenticity. It’s easy to see why he is commonly referred to as the “Mark Zuckerberg of Russia.”
10. Gurbaksh Chahal, 30, RadiumOne
Net worth: $300 Million (est.) Chalal made himself $340 million at just 25 years of age by selling ClickAgents and BlueLithium, two advertising companies. His third advertising venture, RadiumOne, brought in $21 million in financing in 2011 and is currently billed to be worth over $200 million.
9. Daniel Ek, 29, Spotify
Net worth: $310 Million (est.) The former CEO for uTorrent, Ek paired up with Trade Doubler Martin Lorentzon to create Spotify, the most popular music streaming platform on earth. The $15 million in funding he received from Sean Parker ultimately landed him a partnership with Facebook. Spotify is currently rumored to be worth $4 billion.
8. Arash Ferdowsi, 26, Dropbox
Net worth: $400 Million (est.) Arash Ferdowsi and his friend Drew Houston started a recreational product in college they named Dropbox that is now worth close to a billion dollars. Ferdowsi dropped out of school and less than four years later, Dropbox acquired 45 million users.
7. Drew Houston, 29, Dropbox
Net worth: $600 Million (est.) Drew Houston came up with the concept for Dropbox because he would constantly forget his USB drive when he was taking classes at MIT. Dropbox’s innovative online backup and storage capabilities have garnered wealthy investors such as Bono and the Edge.
6. Kevin Systrom, 27, Instagram
Net worth: $470 Million (est.) The Instagram CEO is on top of the world now that he sold his two year start-up to Facebook for $1 billion. Systrom reportedly kept 40% of the company and walked away with $400 million in his pocket. This doesn’t include the $40 million he earned when stocks were trading at $38 a share.
5. Adam D’Angelo, 27, Facebook & Quora
Net worth: $680 Million (est.) Technology wizard Adam D’Angelo owned just 0.8 of Facebook’s stock when his genius helped the company become the social networking giant it is today. D’Angelo soon became tired of making money for other people and formed his own start-up called Quora, a question and answer website that has already raised millions of dollars. He is currently valued at $400 million,
4. Chris Hughes, 28, Facebook
Net worth: $935 Million (est.) Hughes served as Facebook’s first official spokesperson until 2007 and was labeled “the Empath” for his extraordinary ability to understand the human mind. Hughes then became lead online organizer for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and as we can see, he didn’t do half bad. His 1 percent Facebook stake is valued at $850 million.
3. Eduardo Saverin, 30, Facebook
Net worth: $2.7 Billion (est.) Saverin’s infamous lawsuit with former best friend Mark Zuckerberg forced him to dilute his 34.4 percent share, awarding him a five percent stake and credit as a co-founder. Saverin would eventually renounce his US citizenship and move to Singapore to avoid taxes on capital gains from his Facebook shares.
2. Dustin Moskovitz, 28, Facebook & Asana
Net worth: $5.1 Billion (est.) Dustin Moskovitz is the youngest billionaire in the U.S. He holds a 7.6 percent share of Facebook and has recently created his own start-up called Asana, a web and mobile app focused on project networking. He received $38 million funding and as of now, Asana is estimated to be valued at $280 million.
1. Mark Zuckerberg, 28, Facebook
Net worth: $10.1 Billion (est.) Yeah, you know the story. Facebook has over 955 million active users to date since its creation in Mark’s Harvard dorm room in 2004. Despite losing 9 billion after taking the company public, the 503.6 million shares and $104 billion evaluation will keep him at the top of the totem pole for a very long time..