Famous Internet Entrepreneurs
By Editorial Staff
by Catalogs.com Info Guru Paul Seaburn
The story of most Internet entrepreneurs seems to start in a college dorm room and end up on the list of Forbes 400 wealthiest people.
That’s certainly true of many of the names on this list of top 10 Internet entrepreneurs. Some started their companies recently and experienced immediate success while others have been around since the beginnings of the Internet but all have had a profound influence on the technology and our lives.
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10. Reed Hastings
It was the beginning of the end for the DVD rental store when Reed Hastings co-founded Netflix in 1998 to off flat-rate DVD rental-by-mail. The beginning of the end of that business came when Netflix began offering streaming video-on-demand. Reed took Netflix public in 2002 and is still CEO.
9. Pierre Omidyar
Auctions moved from auction houses to the Internet when Pierre Omidyar created eBay in 1995. The original auction service was free, but eBay soon began charging fees and offering a “Buy It Now” option. Omidyar is still chairman and worth over $8 billion.
8. Reid Hoffman
Reid Hoffman was on the board of directors at the founding of PayPal, the electronic money transfer service. He went on to co-found LinkedIn, the social media site for job hunting and making business connections, in 2002. He is still the chairman and was an initial investor in Facebook, the game site Zynga and many other Internet startups.
7. Jack Dorsey
Twitter, the online social networking service and microblogging service, was founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey. While many of the messages are mundane, the number of 140-character “tweets” spikes during major news events, showing that Twitter is a valuable world-wide media tool. Dorsey continues to be Twitter’s chairman.
6. Jimmy Wales
Use Wikipedia often enough and you’re bound to see a message from Jimmy Wales, the information site’s co-founder and chief fundraiser. Wales launched Wikipedia in 2001 as a free open-content encyclopedia site. The “wiki” platform is available to other sites through his for-profit hosting service, Wikia.
5. Larry Page
Larry Page founded Google with Sergey Brin in 1996 based on a research project they worked on together while students at Stanford. Page is the inventor of PageRank, Google’s search ranking algorithm. The company was incorporated in 1998 and Page became CEO in 2011.
4. Craig Newmark
The “Craig” in Craigslist is Craig Newmark, the founder of the site that has made newspaper classified ads almost obsolete. Newmark began his service as an email distribution list featuring events in San Francisco, his hometown. He moved it online in 1996, expanded it to other cities in 2000 and now covers cities big and small in all 50 states and in over 50 countries.
3. Jeff Bezos
Amazon.com was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos to sell books online. Bezos graduated summa cum laude from Princeton with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. Amazon is now the largest retailer on the Internet and its business is the model for most online retail sites.
2. Mark Zuckerberg
If you have thousand of friends you’ve never met, you can thank Mark Zuckerberg, a co-founder of Facebook and the current chairman and CEO. He started it in 2004 from his Harvard dorm room as a social media site for college students, took it public in 2012 and is now worth over $9 billion.
1. Bill Gates
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Although he’s no longer responsible for day-to-day operations of the company he co-founded, Microsoft, Bill Gates is still the biggest Internet entrepreneur by virtue of his $66 billion net worth, keeping him in second place on the list of the world’s richest people. Today Gates shows other billionaire Internet entrepreneurs how to become philanthropists through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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