10 Famous Startup Founders in the 21st Century

How do you become the next famous startup founder? Put simply, you need to have a product or a service that people want. It could be as something as simple a mobile application that sends “yo” to users. Or it might be a company that sells digital pet rocks. Whatever the case, you may have the next billion-dollar idea in your head. You just need to cultivate it. That said, other people had come before you and created amazing products and services that made a dent in the world.

In recent years, thousands of entrepreneurs have entered the marketplace and established a new business. Many have failed, while some have succeeded with the right business investment opportunities. It is not as easy as it may sound when reading the myriad of success stories. It takes plenty of blood, sweat, and tears – and knowing the right people as Elizabeth Holmes can attest to in the entrepreneurial world. Who knows? You might have the next billion-dollar idea, such as a “jumping to conclusions mat.”

Who are the brains behind these firms? Here are ten famous startup founders in the 21st Century:

1. Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook

As the most famous startup founder, Mark Zuckerberg needs no introduction. He launched a website at Harvard University to connect students. It became a hit on campus. Eventually, Zuckerberg branched out, and the social network was born. Zuckerberg is one of the richest men on the planet, transforming Facebook into a data hub.

2. Stewart Butterfield – Slack

Another famous startup founder is Stewart Butterfield. He struck lightning in a bottle twice: first with Flickr and then with Slack. Butterfield, alongside a couple of other co-founders, created Slack as an office chat application. It quickly became a prevalent service in offices around the world, utilising a freemium business model to advance the brand. It filed an initial public offering (IPO) in June 2019, but it has slumped 12 per cent since then.

3. Evan Spiegel – Snap

Another social media application? That may have been the question on a lot of people’s minds, but with investors desperate to find the next big thing in the digital realm, traders poured into Evan Spiegel’s Snap. Although Facebook offered to purchase the company for quite a lot of money, Spiegel turned down the offer and vowed to make the business successful on its own. After hitting some bumps in the road, shares have surged more than 33 per cent over the last 12 months.

4. Elon Musk – Tesla / SpaceX

Elon Musk is another man who does not need any introduction. He is a pioneer in his field, and one of the most iconic billionaires on the planet for his vast intellect and unconventional mannerisms. Thanks to the fortune he made from PayPal, Musk later developed Tesla Motors into one of the most valuable automobile brands on the planet. He also established SpaceX. What else will Musk do?

5. Jack Dorsey – Twitter

Did Jack Dorsey know how much he was going to influence the world with his micro-blogging social network? Maybe not, but Twitter has done exactly that, contributing to revolutions halfway around the world and allowing presidents to engage directly with the public. Like many of its competitors, Twitter has had to endure several bruises, but it seems to be heading down the right path if you go by stock performance as it has rallied 15 per cent year-to-date.

6. Elizabeth Holmes – Theranos

In 2004, Elizabeth Holmes launched Theranos, a blood-test-with-a-fingerprint product. It raised more than $700 million in just a few years, quickly becoming a $9 billion business by 2015. Unfortunately for Holmes, she was caught deceiving investors and her partners through massive fraud, causing the business to shut down. But the health technology company should serve as a lesson that not every startup is going to be gamechanger.

7. Marc Lore – Jet.com

Is Jet.com going to be the next Amazon? Marc Lore thinks it can be, and many investors believe so. Before even opening its doors, Lore successfully raised $220 million in three rounds of funding. On its first day, Jet.com reported more than $1 million in sales. What makes it stand out from Amazon? It promises to offer up to 15 per cent lower prices through an exclusive technology that adjusts prices in real-time.

8. Jessica Alba – The Honest Company

Jessica Alba may not have been a talented actress, but she has proven to be a successful entrepreneur and a famous startup founder. Alba co-founded The Honest Company, a manufacturing and seller of non-toxic diapers, cleaning products, cribs, and prenatal supplements. She started the company shortly after becoming a month because she could not locate any high-quality eco-friendly baby products. Within a few years, The Honest Company is worth $2 billion.

9. Mike Cagney – SoFi

Financial technology, or fintech, is all the rage in Silicon Valley. Is it any surprise that a social financing company raised $1 billion in one month? Well, give Mike Cagney a round of applause after making SoFi the best-funded startups in the United States today.

10. Adam Neumann – WeWork

Like Theranos, WeWork went from a promising startup to a business that crumbled, although it is trying to steady the ship. Adam Neumann founded WeWork with the intent of providing shared workspaces for technology startups and services to other small businesses. It had a $47 billion valuation, and Japan’s Softbank invested huge sums of cash in the enterprise. Within a few years, WeWork endured massive layoffs, Neumann was ousted from the business, and Softbank had a black eye.