When you think about starting or running a business, there are several names you tend to look up to. Depending on where you get your inspiration, you could easily be inspired by captains of the industry of the Gilded Age like Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller. Or perhaps you’re looking more modern and would love to be like Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos.
Hey, there’s even Elon Musk for the type of people who prefer to have some fun while they work. Whatever you like, there’s someone who’s gone ahead of you in business and who can serve as an inspiration.
However, the business landscape always changes, and there are now several young entrepreneurs doing impressive work in their fields. These entrepreneurs are redefining what it means to be successful and are building empires in record time – before blowing out 40 or 50 candles in their lifetimes.
These successful young entrepreneurs can serve as inspirations for business leaders today – and would most definitely be looked up to when the next generation comes along as well. In this piece, we’ll profile 13 of the most successful young entrepreneurs out there today:
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It goes without saying, of course, but Mark Zuckerberg just had to be on this list. Mark is the richest person in the world under the age of 40, and he’s not stopping anytime soon.
For those who might not know Mark Zuckerberg (if there’s even such a thing), he founded Facebooknow know as Meta. Mark brought Facebook into the world in 2004, when he was just 20. Basically, he was just one year removed from being among the world’s top teen entrepreneurs at the time.
Ever since Facebook was founded, Mark has been the company’s chief executive. He has overseen the company’s ascent to new heights, although that hasn’t been without any controversies. But, regardless of what many might think of him, Mark remains one one of the world’s biggest revolutionaries.
Need more motivation? You might want to consider that Mark and Facebook are now looking to build the metaverse- a digital world that everyone believes will be the next frontier of human interaction.
If you’ve ever made an online payment, there’s a high probability that you made it using Stripe.
Stripe is one of the world’s most popular online payment processors, and it was founded by John Collison – along with his brother, Patrick. John and Patrick founded stripe in 2010 with a single goal – transforming the digital payment landscape.
After getting seed funding from investors like Elon Musk, Stripe soon grew to become a unicorn – and then some. Today, the company is objectively valued at over $90 billion, and it isn’t even public yet! With a large ownership stake in the company, John is also worth about $10 billion personally. Not so shabby, right?
Stripe’s list of clients includes big companies like Shopify and Lyft. The company also has partnerships with several of the world’s largest brands – including Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and VISA.
Considering that digital payments remain a major part of the world we live in, Stripe continues to grow. And John Collison continues to stand out among the vast pool of young entrepreneurs.
Ever sent a snap to a friend or dropped something on your Story? Well, you have Evan Spiegel to thank for that!
Evan and his business partner Bobby Murphy founded Snapchat in 2011 while they were both students of Stanford University. The app continued to gain popularity, and it became a global phenomenon in the middle of the past decade.
Despite dropping out of Stanford to launch Snapchat and its parent company Snap Inc., Evan eventually went back to the university and got his Bachelor’s degree in product design in 2018. So, he’s living proof that you don’t necessarily need to ditch school completely to be one of the most successful young entrepreneurs.
After taking Snap public and seeing a lot of success, Evan became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at the age of 25. Today, he has a net worth of $3.2 billion. Looks like those disappearing photos have become profitable after all.
Kylie is one of those names that need no introduction. If you don’t know her from her wildly successful Kylie Cosmetics brand, you’ll probably recognize her as one of the wildly famous Kardashian sisters.
It was pretty evident that Kylie was going to be a trailblazer among teen entrepreneurs from an early age. She had a passion for modeling and beauty, and her mother, Kris Jenner, helped to mold that passion into a business early on.
Thanks to her massive following, Klyie was able to grow her business exponentially. She launched her Kylie Cosmetics line in 2015 – just when she was 18 years old! The company rose off to a scorching start, and in its first 18 months, it had gotten revenues of over $400 million
As of 2018, Kyllie had built a net worth of about $900 million. She was named a billionaire a year later, although her net worth seems to have fallen back just short of the three-comma club. Considering how quickly her business is growing, there’s no stopping Kylie right now.
The African tech space is currently one of the most vibrant in the world. Over the past few years, companies have been able to raise huge sums and grow exponentially across the continent and the world. One of those companies is Paystack.
Launched in 2016, Paystack was founded by Shola Akinlade and his business partner Ezra Olubi. Both men serve as the company’s co-CEOs to this day, although Shola had the idea that eventually turned into Paystack.
Today, Paystack is one of the most recognizable payment services on the African continent – and even in the world. As Shola puts it, he and Ezra started out to build the “Stripe of Africa. Interestingly, the company eventually got acquired by Stripe for a reported $200 million in 2020.
Ever since its acquisition, Paystack has continued to grow and expand into multiple markets. Definitely, this is one company that many are excited about.
Sam Bankman-Fried is one of the many young entrepreneurs to get into the cryptocurrency space early. He began trading Bitcoin and other major coins when they were available at cheap prices, and he turned that into a small fortune.
Looking to venture into crypto full-time, Sam eventually started FTX – a crypto exchange and trading platform. Today, FTX ranks as the second largest crypto exchange by daily trading volumes. The company processes over $2 billion in trades every day, trailing only Binance.
FTX is also one of the most exciting crypto companies in the world. Today, the company is worth about $32 billion, with Sam’s personal stake in the company – as well as other investments – giving him a net worth of $10.3 billion at the age of 30.
Many believe that cryptocurrencies will be the future of money for our time. If this is true, then companies like FTX definitely have a bright future, and it’s only the beginning for Sam Bankman-Fried.
If you’re looking for teen entrepreneurs to give you some inspiration, then perhaps you’d like to check out young Mr. Pasternak here.
Ben began his journey into entrepreneurship and tech when he was just in high school. He developed his first app – named Impossible Rush – because he was bored with classes. Interestingly, the app became a massive hit, grossing more than Twitter and Tinder.
Inspired by this, Ben went on to try some other things. He developed Flogg – a social e-commerce platform – although this one folded back in 2016. He also built Monkey – a networking and video chat platform – and subsequently sold it to Holla in 2018.
Right now, Ben’s efforts are focused on SIMULATE – a sustainable nutrition platform that he started in 2019. SIMULATE’s flagship product is Nuggs; a plant-based chicken nugget simulation. The company is currently valued at over $250 million, making Ben one of the top young entrepreneurs to watch in the coming decade.
Let’s take another trip back to the African continent to meet Mr. Olugbenga Agboola. Popularly called “GB,” Olugbenga is the brains behind Flutterwave – the most valuable startup in Africa.
Flutterwave was founded in 2016 as a way to help improve the ease with which people make payments online. The company’s profile soon grew thanks to its network of partners and Olugbenga’s business acumen. After several fundraising rounds, Flutterwave became Africa’s first native unicorn in 2020, reaching a valuation of $1 billion. Less than two years later, Flutterwave has successfully tripled its valuation, hitting a $3 billion peg in January of this year.
Flutterwave’s status as Africa’s online payments king is quite solidified. The company has managed to conquer the payment space, thanks to its huge network of clients and partnerships with large names like Apple and Twitter. Olugbenga’s status as one of the world’s top young entrepreneurs is definitely well deserved.
Let’s step away from the tech space for a bit with Marques Brownlee. While he still works and made his name in the tech space, Marques didn’t take the conventional path of starting a company or launching a product. Instead, he made it big by chronicling the journeys of entrepreneurs like himself.
Marques is the brains behind the MKBHD YouTube channel. He began his channel by reviewing products and sharing product details from across the market. Soon, Marques began to build his connections across the tech space and managed to get interviews with some of the biggest names – including Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg. And just like that, MKBHD became a YouTube phenomenon.
Today, Marques is one of the most recognizable names in tech media, with his YouTube channel having over 15.5 million subscribers and over a billion views already.
Plus, Marques also moonlights as a professional frisbee player. Talk about living his best life.
Brian Armstrong is another young entrepreneur who made his fortune in the crypto market. Brain started Coinbase in 2012 and has grown the company into the largest cryptocurrency exchange in North America – and the third-largest in the world.
After starting his career working as a software engineer for Airbnb, Brian took a liking to cryptocurrencies at an early age. He believed that there should be an easy and safe way for people to access their favorite coins, so he and his business partner Fred Ersham started Coinbase in 2012 to bring crypto to everyone.
After the crypto market boom in 2017, Coinbase became a force to be reckoned with. The company also became popular because of its approach to regulation. While most crypto exchanges don’t co-operate with regulators, Coinbase does so easily.
Eventually, Brian took Coinbase public in April 2022. Coinbase remains the only crypto broker that trades on a public exchange, and the company is currently worth $15 billion. With a 19% stake in the company, Brian is worth about $2.4 billion.
Odun Eweniyi is one of the most spectacular young entrepreneurs in the world. Based in Lagos, she founded PiggyVest – a FinTech platform that allows users to save and invest money easily from the comfort of their homes.
PiggyVest today is one of the most valuable tech startups in Africa. The company has over a million customers, processing billions of dollars in transactions and payouts to them annually.
The vision for PiggyVest started when Odun discovered a huge problem in Africa – people didn’t seem to know how to save. So, she and her partners built PiggyVest to help solve this issue. With Odun as its Chief Operating Officer, PiggyVest has become a financial giant. Odun herself has featured in Forbes Africa’s #30Under30 list.
Besides her work at PiggyVest, Odun also leads FirstCheck Africa – an angel fund that focuses on investing in female-led companies across the continent.
The “gig economy” we see today has been led by several companies looking to connect people together much more easily. One such company is Airbnb – a real estate technology platform founded by Brian Chesky.
Briann started Airbnb like many business people – out of necessity. He and his roommate Joe Gebbia had been facing some difficult financial times, so they decided to buy an air mattress in their home and rent it out to someone willing to stay. Just like that, the vision for Airbnb was born.
Today, Airbnb is one of the world’s biggest landlords. And interestingly, the company owns no property. Airbnb allows people looking for accommodation to easily connect with others who are willing to lease their properties. Tired of a hotel? Why not book an Airbnb?
Despite taking a hit in 2020 due to the pandemic, Airbnb is back bigger and stronger. The company went public in December of that year, and it is currently valued at $70 billion.
Rounding out our list is Blake Ross – one of the most prominent teen entrepreneurs who now lives to pursue his passion.
Blake is the genius mind behind Mozilla – an internet facility. He created Mozilla and launched it in November 2004, at the time when he was just 19 years old. Then, he combined Mozilla with Firefox – a browser created by one of his business partners. The combined product – called Mozilla Firefox – became one of the most popular online browsers in the world. Today, Mozilla remains a giant in the internet space.
After making a small fortune with Mozilla, Blake has relatively laid low. But, his footprints remain very prominent in the tech space. He worked as a Director of Products at Facebook between 2013 and 2017, and he currently leads Product Strategy at Uber.
General FAQ About Young Successful Entrepreneurs
Can teens become entrepreneurs?
Definitely! Teens can become not just entrepreneurs but successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship has nothing to do with age but the value you offer and how many problems you are willing to solve.
Is Kylie Jenner an entrepreneur?
Yes! Kylie Jenner is a great entrepreneur who harnessed the power of her social media followings to build a multi-billion dollar cosmetic company for herself. This is such a great idea and a huge fist to pull off for a lot of youngies with such following prefer to to take brand influencing deals rather than build a brand of their own.
Who is the No.1 entrepreneur in the world?