For most of human history, age and wisdom have gone hand in hand. And although this is true, some of the most dynamic and well-respected entrepreneurs of today’s modern age are gaining more headway than ever.
In fact, these five entrepreneurs are living proof that success and age don’t necessarily go hand in hand. All are under the age of 40 as of 2015, and have achieved prodigious success.
1. Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg is a household name — the millennial generation’s Bill Gates. He is, of course, the founder and chairman of Facebook, the most successful U.S. social media site to date. Although his net worth varies considerably with fluctuations in Facebook’s publicly traded stock price, as of late 2015, he’s worth at least $40 billion, and he didn’t even graduate from college!
2. Sarah Holmes
Sarah Holmes is the brains behind Theranos, a revolutionary “consumer healthcare company” that offers a host of innovative diagnostic solutions for patients and healthcare providers. She’s also a college dropout; she left Stanford at the ripe young age of 19 to launch Theranos’ predecessor. Although Theranos is privately held and estimates of Holmes’ net worth are somewhat hard to come by, we know with certainty that she’s a billionaire several times over.
3. Jan Koum
Jan Koum has a quintessential American Dream story. He moved to the United States as a teen, worked his butt off while living in subsidized housing, and hit the big time with an innovative digital chatting app. It’s called WhatsApp — maybe you’ve heard of it? Mark Zuckerberg sure has; his company purchased WhatsApp for roughly $22 billion in 2014.
4. Palmer Luckey
It’s not luck, Palmer. Luckey became the third Facebook-made billionaire on this list after selling his virtual reality startup, Oculus, to the social giant in 2014. According to Forbes, Luckey’s multimillion-dollar windfall hasn’t made him any less humble; he still lives in shared housing with six (!) roommates.
5. Evan Spiegel
This Snapchat founder famously told Facebook to stuff its $3 billion buyout offer. That gamble paid off big time, as Snapchat’s most recent funding round valued the company at more than $16 billion — and has made Evan Spiegel a billionaire many times over.
And, of course, there are plenty of others—like George Otte, a Miami-based serial entrepreneur who runs three successful companies in the tech support, telephone answering service, and product fulfillment verticals. Otte turned his first profit before graduating from college and never looked back.
So many younger Gen-Xers, Millennials and even up-and-coming Generation Z teens are pushing their way to the top, overtaking many older entrepreneurs who grew up with typewriters and rotary phones instead of computers and social media. As the digital world expands in both reach and innovation, who knows who the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs will be.
Who’s your favorite entrepreneur under age 40?