Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos: Here's how old the founders of 23 tech giants were when they started their first companies


young bill gates 1992

  • Mark Zuckerberg, Evan Spiegel, and the two Google cofounders were all already millionaires before they turned 30.
  • Although those tech founders saw massive success from their first companies, other major tech players didn’t find wealth and fame until their second or third attempts at launching ventures.
  • These are the ages of 23 tech founders when they started their first companies.
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For tech founders like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey, it took a couple attempts to start the company that would turn them into industry visionaries and make them worth billions of dollars.

The founders of Tesla and Twitter, respectively, experienced only minor successes with their first tech ventures at a young age. It took them, and others, a couple of tries before landing on ideas that caught fire and became big names in the tech industry.

Although it’s often the stories of young college dropouts like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that get the most attention, not all heads of tech companies found success at such a young age. While many big names in tech have already gained their first million in their 20s, others like Oracle founder Larry Ellison didn’t come into their wealth until their 30s or later.

These are the ages that 23 of the most successful tech founders launched their first companies at:

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Tesla founder Elon Musk — Age 24

Year: 1995

Musk and his brother, Kimbal, founded Zip2 (originally Global Link Information Network), a company that provided online city guides to newspapers like the New York Times and Chicago Tribune. The company was bought four years later by the computer company Compaq. 

Musk later went on to help found a number of companies, including (that merged with PayPal), and the companies where he now serves as CEO: Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company.

Sources: Rolling Stone, New York Times

Dell founder Michael Dell — Age 21

Year: 1984

Michael Dell started Dell Technologies from his dorm room as a freshman at the University of Texas in Austin. What started as a side hustle of re-vamping computers for a profit turned into a full-time gig that allowed him to convince his parents he could drop out of college.

Source: CNBC

TheSkimm founders Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin — Ages 25 and 26

Year: 2012

Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin first met while studying abroad in Rome — Weisberg was a Tufts student, and Zakin attended UPenn. After graduating, they both found themselves working at NBC News in New York, and became roommates.

They left their roles in 2012 after realizing how many of their friends “weren’t living and breathing the news like we were.” They launched their daily, conversational aggregated news digest theSkimm, and now have more than 7 million subscribers.

Source: Business Insider, The Cut

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