From Dorm Room to Board Room: 3 Startups Created in College

Here at 1789, we know that inspiration for a great startup idea can come at any time—whether you’re out of school and in a full-time job, or in your dorm studying for your physics final. Here are a few examples of some of the most successful startups whose creation began on a college campus:


The story of Facebook and its creator Mark Zuckerberg has reached almost legendary status, having been immortalized in the 2010 film The Social Network. The startup was launched in 2004, and though it was originally used solely by Harvard students, it quickly spread to schools around the country. 

Many have heard the statistic: if Facebook were a country, it would be the most populous one on earth. In January of this year, the company reported that 1.39 billion people log on to Facebook each month. Timothy Stenovac wrote in the Huffington Post article "Facebook is Now Bigger Than the Largest Country on Earth," "Although Facebook’s user base is still expanding, growth has slowed in recent quarters because there simply aren’t as many people left to join the site."

That's a pretty nice problem to have for a startup created back in a dorm room. 


Since its creation in 2005 by University of Virginia students Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, Reddit has become one of the top content sites in the world. Conceived as a sort of online bulletin board, Reddit serves as a space for members to post links or text on a myriad of topics. 


Leaders and celebrities from around the world have participated in the Reddit AMAs, including President Barrack Obama, Madonna, Bill Gates, Stan Lee, and Stephen Colbert. 

In 2014, the site received $50M in funding from venture capitalists and investors, such as actor Jared Leto and hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg.  


No one is a stranger to the frustration of not being able to send large files over email. MIT students Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi decided to do something about it. In 2007 they founded Dropbox, a file sharing service with over 200 million users. Like Reddit, Dropbox was originally invested in by American seed fund Y Combinator


To check out more successful startups created on college campuses, check out Dan Wilson's article on The Richest, "The 10 Best College Startups of The Past 10 Years."