At thirty, most people are still at a point where they are still trying to figure life out: how to raise children of their own, when to tie oneself to a mortgage, the fastest ways to pay off student loans. And others, like the people on this list, have conquered the business aspect of life and have become multi-millionaires.
Thirty amazing entrepreneurs make up this list. Some graduated from a university, while others dropped out or just never saw the point. Their fields of success range from education, to technology, to investing, to personal hygiene. They come from all over the world, and from different backgrounds. But they do have one incredible thing in common: they have all followed their dreams and achieved success before the age of thirty.
1. Michelle Phan, 28
YouTube has become the go-to place for those aspiring for fame, and for a lucky few, the video-sharing platform is the key to success. For one of those lucky few, Michelle Phan, it has been the key to massive success. A graduate of the Ringling College of Art and Design, Phan began posting make-up demonstrations on YouTube using an easy-to-follow, Bob Ross-like production style. Since her first post, Phan’s YouTube channel, which has more than 350 uploaded videos, has garnered an incredible 8 million subscribers and 1.1 billion lifetime views. In the last two years, she has published a book, “Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success — Online and Off,” been nominated for four Teen Choice Awards, and won a Streamy Award and a Shorty Award.
2. Adam Lyons, 28
Adam Lyons has become one of the most exciting names in business — not bad for someone who dropped out of high school at age 15. After working odd jobs, things really began to come together for Lyons when he began working at Lloyd’s of London as a broker and an underwriter, and then as an underwriter for All Risks Insurance, one of the largest insurance companies in the U.S. In 2012, Lyons teamed up with superstar investor Mark Cuban and founded The Zebra, a unique insurance comparison business that has become one of the most watched startups in the world. As of January 2016, The Zebra has received $21 million in funding and has relocated tech- and startup-friendly Austin, Texas.
3. Anda Gansca, 27
Born and raised in Romania, Anda Gansca moved to the United States at age 18 to attend Stanford University. While there, she earned a double major in Economics and International Relations, but even more impressively, she started and grew three international initiatives. One such initiative has developed into Knotch, a data analysis company that is revolutionizing the way emotion is expressed and captured online. Though Knotch is only a few years old, it has proved itself — and its young founder — a great success by boosting the content effectiveness of various big-name media companies and brand.
4. Joe Aigboboh, 30
Joe Aigboboh may not be a household name, but his creations certainly are. Originally inspired to create a game simply because he knew how to write code, Aigboboh has since created popular games such as Charm King and Bubble Blitz. The mobile games created by Aigboboh’s company, PlayQ, have been downloaded by 50 million people and played for more than 200 million hours (that’s 23,000 years!). And with a working relationship with Facebook Platform, PlayQ seems to be on the right track for those numbers to only increase.
5. Douglas Hanna, 25
At only 25 years old, Douglas Hanna is an entrepreneur who has (very quickly) become a pro at growing and managing high-performance teams and companies. In 2010, while still a sociology student at Duke University, Hanna was CEO of A Small Orange, a homegrown hosting company. There, Hanna helped to increase revenue by more than 1200% and 9 employees to over 90. A Small Orange was eventually acquired by Endurance International Group, where Douglas remained for two years before signing on to his most recent project as the founder and CEO of Help.com, a new, next-generation provider of customer service software.
6. Sahil Lavingia, 24
In 2011, 19-year old Sahil Lavingia was already the first designer hired at Pinterest and the designer of the Turntable.fm app when he decided to create Gumroad, a platform that enables creators to sell products directly to consumers. Sahila, who sought to create a marketplace as easy to navigate as social media’s “share” function, was still the sole member of Gumroad when it was announced that it had received more than $8 million in initial funding. Months later, Twitter announced its first commerce product, the Buy Now button, in partnership with Gumroad. Today, thousands of authors, comedians, designers, filmmakers, musicians, and software developers use Gumroad to sell products directly to consumers, garnering millions for both Lavingia and individual sellers.
7. Bridget Hilton, 29
Bridget Hilton always knew that she wanted a career in the music industry, and at age 16, she embarked on a nearly decade-long career with Palace Sports & Entertainment, marketing some of the biggest names in music. Then in 2012, Hilton saw a video of a woman hearing for the first time in her life, and a new idea was sparked. Hilton teamed up with Starkey, the hearing restoration company behind the video, and began building a new pair of headphones that focused on balanced sound. Best of all, part of the proceeds go towards hearing-restoration technology. LSTN is still on the rise, but Hilton and her groundbreaking headphones have already been recognized by Forbes, Inc., and Origin Magazine, among others.
8. Matt Sandler, 28
Matt Sandler is the creator of Chromatik, a digital platform used by musicians professional and amateur alike for learning, practicing, and sharing music. Chromatik was recently named as one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Top 100 Brilliant Companies,” and is used by such big names as American Idol, Bruno Mars, UCLA, and the Los Angeles Unified School District, to name but a few. Sandler, a musician who graduated from UCLA, has been recognized by Forbes, Billboad, TechCrunch, and others for his unique company that is revolutionizing musicians’ experiences at all levels of the music industry.
9. Rob Rhinehart, 27
Rob Rhinehart is the creator of Soylent, a vegan, kosher, FDA-GRAS food product that provides a complete and healthy adult diet. Made of powder and oil blends that are mixed with water before drinking, Soylent may not be as appealing as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a juicy cheeseburger, but Rhinehart lived off of his product for an entire year to prove that it would provide a person with better health and more energy. Available at $70 for 21 meals, or $255 for 84 meals, Soylent has already attracted the interest of NASA and the military. Rhinehart, however, hopes that Soylent can offer a beneficial alternative to eating out for those young adults who are often in need of convenient meal options.
10. Olga Vidisheva, 30
At age 17, Olga Vidisheva moved to the U.S. from Russia and supported herself by waiting tables at a Japanese restaurant in New Mexico. Discovered by a modeling agency, Vidisheva was able to model and put herself through Wellesley College. She then spent three exhausting years working for Goldman Sachs before giving up Wall Street for Harvard Business School. where she was inspired to start Shoptiques.com, which sells shoes, bags, and other accessories from various boutiques in the United States. Shoptiques.com has grown steadily since its founding, and now works with more than 200 boutiques.
11. Jessica Scorpio, 29
Jessica Scorpio is a co-founder of Getaround, a peer-to-peer car sharing company that is making waves in our current Uber-driven society. Getaround allows drivers to rent cars from private car owners, and owners to rent out their cars for payment. In the five years since its inception, Getaround has proven itself a success in cities such as San Francisco, San Diego, Austin, Portland, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Scorpio’s entrepreneurial successes have been featured in Forbes, the Huffington Post, Fortune Magazine, and CEOWorld Magazine, among others.
12. Robert Nay, 18
At age 14, Robert Nay took a friend’s advice and attempted to create an iPhone app. With a generous loan of $1,200 from his parents to purchase a MacBook Pro, Nay spent nearly a month at the local public library in order to teach himself how to write the code necessary to create his game. Finally, Nay released Bubble Ball, and within two weeks of its launch, Bubble Ball was downloaded an amazing two million times, even knocking Angry Birds out of the number one spot. Nay Games now has a number of Bubble Ball spin-off editions as well as education-based games for young students to practice spelling words. Not bad for a kid right out of high school.
13. Lauren Conrad, 30
Though most people still know her as a star of reality television, Lauren Conrad has proven herself to be quite the entrepreneurial force. After leaving her television show The Hills in 2009, Conrad launched her two fashion lines, LC Lauren Conrad and Paper Crown. Both
lines have done extraordinarily well, and have recently expanded into bedding and other household items. Conrad is also an author, having written the best-selling L.A. Candy series for teens. She is currently estimated to be worth $25 million.
14. Marcela Sapone, 29
Marcela Sapone is the co-founder and CEO of Hello Alfred, a revolutionary new home operating system that pairs its user with a dedicated butler nearby. For low monthly costs, users enjoy a list of mundane household tasks (grocery shopping, picking up dry cleaning, making beds) done for them “behind the scenes.” Sapone has always had an interest in hospitality and lifestyle services, and has helped to steer Hello Alfred into a rapidly growing, award-winning service. Sapone herself has been named TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF winner (2014) and one of Goldman Sachs most interesting entrepreneurs.
15. Vlad Tenev, 30
Having immigrated with his parents from Bulgaria, Vlad Tenev came to America and earned Bachelors of Science in Math and Physics from Stanford University. Shortly after graduation, Tenev started two finance companies in New York City, both of which sell trading software to hedge funds, and built high-frequency trading platforms for various financial institutions. Seeing a gap in the marketplace, Tenev created Robinhood in 2013, a financial services company dedicated to offering free trading for everyone. The increasingly popular app allows people to invest in publicly traded companies and exchange-traded funds listed on U.S. exchanges without paying a commission.
16. Emerson Spartz, 29
As part of his personally designed homeschool curriculum, Emerson Spartz read four one-page biographies of successful people each day, a feature of his education that undoubtedly had a profound effect on the young entrepreneur. In 2009, at the age of 23, Spartz created Spartz Media, a company that automates the discovery and reproduction of viral web content across thirty aggregator websites. Some of Spartz’ better known websites include GivesMeHope and OMG-Fact.com, the latter of which receives 30 million monthly page views. He is also the creator of the extremely popular MuggleNet, a Harry Potter fansite.
17. Pete Cashmore, 30
Scottish entrepreneur Pete Cashmore is the CEO and founder of the blog Mashable, one of the top ten most popular blogs worldwide, which he founded in Aberdeen at the age of 19. As Mashable’s success has skyrocketed, so has its aptly named founder’s. Cashmore has been recognized by Inc., Forbes, Time, and The Huffington Post, among others. He was also named the most influential Briton in 2009 by INQ. Today, Cashmore writes a weekly column on technology and social media for CNN.
18. Alexander Levin, 30
While a senior in high school, Alexander Levin noticed a lack of options for those looking to store digital photos separate from social media platforms or online forums. With a little hard work, and some help from an older brother working for Google, Levin created ImageShack, an image hosting site that was free until January 2016. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, ImageShack has consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing web brands on the internet, garnering Levin a tidy net worth of around $50 million.
19. Susan Gregg-Koger
Susan Gregg-Koger is a co-founder of ModCloth, an online retailer known for their vintage-inspired and indie clothing, accessories, and decor. After a decade of impressive successes, ModCloth hit the big time with $100 million in retail sales and 50% year over year growth. Gregg-Koger and her husband, also a co-founder of ModCloth, have been recognized by Fast Company, Forbes, Under30CEO.com, The White House, Inc., and countless other media outlets. ModCloth, which Inc. declares to be one of the fastest growing retailers in the country, recently opened a store in San Francisco.
20. Jack Abraham, 28
Research it online, then purchase it in a store; we all do it. Recognizing that the internet was progressing in every area but shopping, Jack Abraham decided to address the frustration that comes with trying to find a product in the real world that has been already seen online. He created Milo.com (named after his adorable Jack Russell), a website that tracks products on shelf stores in real time. So far, he has more than 50,000 stores being tracked and 2.8 million products. The more than one million unique visitors who find Milo.com each month simply need to search a product along with their zip code to find the store closest to them.
21. David Karp, 29
You may not have heard the name David Karp, but anyone who spends any amount of time on the internet has surely heard of his creation, Tumblr. Having started his career as a writer and editor for an internet animation company, Karp founded Tumblr, a microblogging platform, in February 2007. Today, Tumblr hosts more than 277.2 million blogs. Though Karp officially sold Tumblr to Yahoo! for $1.1 billion in 2013, he has remained as CEO of the company. He has been recognized by such media outlets as BusinessWeek, Forbes, and the MIT Technology Review, to name but a few, and is estimated to be worth upwards of $200 million.
22. Catherine Cook, 26
At age 15, Catherine Cook and her brother, David, co-founded the website myYearbook with an investment from their older brother, Geoff. The social media site was an interactive yearbook designed to help high schoolers meet new people in a safe online environment. In only six years, myYearbook grew from approximately 400 members to nearly 33 million members from all over the world. In 2011, the siblings received $150 million in a merger deal with Quepasa, a Brazilian and Mexican-based site. Catherine is still actively involved in the new website, now called MeetMe, while her brother Geoff is COO.
23. Juliette Brindak, 26
The characters that made Juliette Brindak a multi-millionaire by age 21 started out as a mere art project, through which she would draw her sister Olivia in various social, athletic, and academic scenarios. Today, those characters are MissOandFriends.com, a social networking site for tween and teen girls who “have outgrown Barbie and are not ready for Britney.” The site offers advice on everything from fashion to social situations, and is a place where girls can play games and ask questions they might be uncomfortable asking a parent. Brindak made her first million by age 17, and has only become more successful as the World of Miss O has grown.
24. Aden Levin, 28, and Rob Tomine, 28
Aden Levin and Rob Tomine were only in their early 20s when they changed the travel industry for young people. Inspired by the lack of low-cost travel opportunities for younger people, the two university friends decided to create Mainstage Travel in 2011. Since then, the success of the company has snowballed. Repeatedly recognized as one of the top start-ups by a number of media outlets, Mainstage Travel works by negotiating bulk discounts on everything from flights, to accommodation, to festival tickets, and then offering all-in-one experiences at incredibly low prices.
25. Ed Hardy, 19, and Kit Logan, 19
After bonding at boarding school over a mutual love of skiing, Ed Hardy and Kit Logan decided to turn their passion for snow sports into a business. That’s when they came up with the idea for their mobile app, Edge, which they claim is the “ultimate mountain companion.” Using GPS, Edge can track performance stats along mountain routes and allows users to challenge their friends, and find and review mountainside restaurants, bars, and hotels. Various tech investors have already been jumping onboard to invest in Edge, including Frank Meehan who has invested in everything from Siri to Spotify.
26. George Burgess, 23
George Burgess has been a serial entrepreneur since age 15, when he was running his own eBay shop, co-running a videography business with a friend, and raking in nearly £40,000 a year. After dropping out of Stanford University and returning to England to focus on business endeavors, Burgess has become one of the most exciting young entrepreneurs in the world, according to Forbes. He is currently the founder and CEO of Gojimo, Britain’s most successful exam preparation app that helps students prepare for tests ranging from Common Entrance, to GCSE and A-Levels, to the SAT, and ACT.
27. Ludwick Marishane, 26
Ludwick Marishane was still in high school in Africa when he thought up DryBath, a waterless cleaning gel that has improved the lives of thousands living in Africa. Within one year, he had both devised the formula for the gel, written a 40-page business plan, applied for a patent, and launched his start-up, Headboy Industries. Sold individually for 50 cents per packet, DryBath is used by those in wealthier areas when they’re in a time pinch. More importantly, for those without regular access to clean water, DryBath can mean protection from easily treatable, water-thriving bacteria.
28. Olamide Orekunrin, 28
Olamide “Ola” Orekunrin is a British-Nigerian medical doctor who established Flying Doctors Nigeria in order to provide rural parts of the country with emergency medical services. Officially, this makes her company the only one of its kind in the large Western African country. Besides being the CEO of Flying Doctors, Orekunrin is a member of both the American Academy of Aesthetic Surgeons and the British Medical Association, was listed among Young Global leaders by World Economic Forum, and has lectured on entrepreneurship at MIT.
29. Nic Borg
Educational start-ups may be a dime a dozen these days, but Nic Borg’s company, Edmodo, has proven itself the cream of the crop. Earning more than $60 million since its inception, Edmodo is known as “Facebook for the classroom.” Its 30 million users, more than 1 million of whom are teachers, have access to a free, privacy-protected platform where they can compare and share lesson plans, homework, tests, and more. In 2013, Borg and Edmodo were featured on Forbes’ coveted list of 30 Under 30.
30. Shiza Shahid
Not all successful entrepreneurs are solely after the big bucks. Pakistani-born Shiza Shahid is the CEO and co-founder of the Malala Fund, the organization which represents the young activist who survived a murder attempt by the Taliban. A graduate of Stanford and a former business analyst at McKinsey & Company in the Middle East, Shahid has helped shape the Malala Fund into a leading force in female empowerment and education, especially in the Middle East. Shahid’s work has been recognized by Time Magazine and Forbes, among others.