Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Stories, Productivity

15 Popular Businesses Started By College Students

For some, college is a time spent going to classes, learning who they are as a person, and going to as many parties as possible because, after all, “these are going to be the best years of your life.”

For others, college is a chance for opportunity. They use their time to plan and set up themselves. The young entrepreneurs in this list were successful are among these people.

Not only using that opportunity to set themselves up, but they were also able to kick start their careers by creating some highly successful businesses.

Some of these businesses started by college students directly affects the way of life as we know it today.

I’m talking about companies like Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Google that were all started while their founders were in college.

This article will list 15 of these businesses along with their founders to show you that it is possible to start a business in college turn it into a huge success.

1. 3dim

Founder(s): Andrea Colaço and Ahmed Kirmani
College: Massachusetts Institute of technology
Year Founded: 2013

The company 3dim was created to change the way that we interact with our everyday smart devices. 3dim’s influence stretched from the televisions in our living rooms to the refrigerators in our kitchens.

Andrea and Ahmed created a gesture sensor that got rid of the need for “touch” when using everyday smart appliances. Their technology also works in all lighting and on all smart devices.

Also, their products make it possible for property sellers to create a 3D replica of their homes. Its 3D sensing software makes it easier for potential buyers to take a complete tour of a home on the internet.

Here is a video explaining how their technology works:

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghhOPVJ6ccg”]

2. EnvoyNow

Founder(s): Chad Massura, Anthony Zhang, Gabriel Quintela and Nick Wang
College: University of Southern California
Year Founded: 2014

EnvoyNow provides a service to college students as well as an opportunity for restaurants around colleges.

This company was an on-demand food delivery startup capitalizing on the neglected college market. Meaning that it was a project focused on making sure that college students would be getting their food delivered where they wanted.

This business was so successful that it even received the funding from Mark Cuban on an impromptu Shark Tank presentation!

3. AthleteTrax

Founder(s): Jon Halpern, Brian Gross, and Rey Coriano
College: George Washington University
Year Founded: 2012

AthleteTrax provides an app to athletes that helps them organize daily activities.

It also makes life easier for coaches, parents, team members, and the teams’ administration by giving them a place where they can all have access to their teams scheduling, communications, and events.

Its users can also create or import their contacts, and there is a message function that allows the user to reach the entire team with one push of a button.

RELATED: 9 Ways To Market Your Small Business on A Shoestring Budget In College

4. Dell

Founder(s): Michael Dell
College: University of Texas at Austin
Year Founded: 1984

19-Year-old Michael Dell founded the computer company Dell with just $1000 as a freshman at the University of Texas Austin.

In one summer Michael sold $180,000 worth of computers in one month! Then when he grew his company enough to make it public, he became one of the worlds youngest self-made billionaires.

Michael Dell founded this company when he was a freshman in college. By the second half of his freshman year, he had already sold $80.000 worth of computers. He then dropped out to work full time on his business, and I think we all know how great that turned out for him!

RELATED: Why College Is The Best Time To Start Your First Business

5. EarTop Technologies

Founder(s): Ketan Rahangdale and Jaiyu Ni
College: University of Miami
Year Founded: 2011

As DJ’s Ketan and Jaiyu aimed to make the wires on equipment obsolete. He did this by creating specialized wireless video and audio technologies.

So they made EarTop Technologies and created Bluetooth technology that transformed wired devices into wireless devices without having to sacrifice for sound quality.

6. Insomnia Cookies

Founder(s): Seth Berkowitz
College: University of Pennsylvania
Year Founded: 2003

Insomnia Cookies is a campus-based business that delivers freshly baked treats.

This once small company that started with Seth Berkowitz and his friends making and delivering cookies around their campus has grown to now have over 100 current locations all serving and delivering cookies, cookie cakes, brownies, and cold milk.

RELATED:15 Shocking Businesses You Can Start In College For The Low 

7. Google

Founder(s): Larry Page & Sergey Brin
College: Stanford University
Year Founded: 1998

We all know, love, and use Google. This powerhouse of a website is probably the biggest company in our generation.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin worked on the development of Google while they were attending Standford. They pride themselves on providing their users with the most relevant and accurate results for searches on the internet.

That small company they started as Ph.D. students has grown into something everybody not only talks about but uses as well.

8. iCracked

Founder(s): AJ Forsythe, Anthony Martin
College: California Polytechnic State University
Year Founded: 2010

iCracked is a service repair company for all things Apple. With the rapid increase in Apple products, it’s only natural to expect an increase in cracked phone screens that needs repairs.

That is where the college entrepreneurs Aj and Anthony step in.

Because fixing iPhone screens had become a million dollar business, iCracked was able to capitalize on the market’s growth.

RELATED: 25 Free Apps That Will Make College Easier

9. Catalant (HourlyNerd)

Founder(s): Rob Biederman, Peter Maglathlin, Patrick Petitti & Joe Miller
College: Harvard University
Year Founded: 2013

Formerly known as “HourlyNerd” Catalant allows its users to post projects, receive bids, interview, select experts, make payments and track projects all in the same place. Its clients range from small businesses to large successful ones.

10. College Info Geek

Founder(s): Thomas Frank
College: Iowa State University
Year Founded: 2010

College Info Geek focuses on helping college students navigate through college easier.  What separates College Info Geek from other college-based sites is the detailed information provided to college students on a wide range of topics. 

Here are 3 topics I found interesting on the site that might interest you:

  1. Why Multitasking Makes You Less Productive 
  2. How To Take The Best Notes In College
  3. How Elon Musk Gets So Much Done

RELATED: Step-by-Step Guide: To Launching Your First Blog In College 

11. Kinkos

Founder(s): Paul Orfalea
College: University of Southern California
Year Founded: 1970

The founder, Paul Orfalea, came up with the idea for the company when he noticed the copy machine in his school’s library. He then thought to himself that more people should have access to these types of devices.

From 1970, when the first Kinko got founded, to 5 years later, the company grew to have 24 locations around California. That tripled four years after that.

It was eventually bought and added as a branch of the FedEx Corporation.

12. Napster

Founder(s): Shawn Fanning, Sean Parker & John Fanning
College: Northeastern University
Year Founded: 1999

Though it has seen better days, in its prime Napster was booming with over 80 million users.

Napster created software for downloading music, and where friends could share music.


14. Reddit

Founder(s): Steve Huffman & Alexis Ohanian
College: University of Virginia
Year Founded: 2005

An information sharing website, Reddit distinguishes itself from all other information sharing websites by giving users the ability to vote on content.

Which means users will have the power to determine for themselves what the most important posts on the platform are through a system of up-votes and down-votes. The more up-votes a post has, the closer it gets to the top of the first page of the Reddit.

The site receives millions of views monthly. Also, it is one of the most recognizable websites on the internet.

15. Microsoft

Founder(s): Bill Gates & Paul Allen
College: Harvard University
Year Founded: 1975

Microsoft founders left Harvard to pursue the computer software company full time shortly after college.

Since then, the company turned into a tech giant that paved the way for today’s technological advances. Though there are other big names in the technology space, Microsoft remains a respected name when talking about advancements in modern technology.

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