Five College Grad Techies Who Made Their First Million Nearly Overnight

By Allison Boccamazzo June 19, 2012

So you just graduated college; you’ve officially walked across the stage to receive that piece of paper you’ve shelled out tens – or hundreds – of thousands of dollars to attain. While you’re no longer living in and out of a suitcase and eating pre-made food like you were for the last few years, you now must do something much harder; you must decide what your next life step will be – and fast.

I know I desperately wished my degree was secretly a golden wrapped, winning Wonka Bar or a glowing, super-power enabling device – but alas, this is the real world.

For some, though, this pretty much was the case.

Many of today’s young millionaires (and you can’t forget billionaires) attended college only to drop out before graduating to further pursue their coveted brainchildren (we’re looking at you, Zuckerburg). While that’s all fine and dandy, we’re looking for those who stuck it through to inspire recent college grads everywhere who are nervously clutching their degree asking themselves, “what now?”

Having said that, here’s a list of five extremely successful tech entrepreneurs who can actually say they’ve achieved the college dream, where walking to receive their degree was literally their first stepping stone to a mass of unforeseen, awe-inspiring fortunes.

1.)    Sanjit Biswas, 29, CEO at Meraki: Funded $40 million

Bisawas’ undergraduate degree from Stanford is a thing of the past, at least when compared to the day in 2006 when he, a mere PhD student at M.I.T. at the time, creating the now ridiculously successful Meraki, a device which allows anyone to deploy a large-scale wireless network within minutes. Initially planning to sell routers out of his basement to make ends meet, Biswas and co-founder John Bicket opted for another solution -- raking in unexpected heaps of millions.

2.) Alex Rampbell, 29, CEO at TrialPay: Funded $30 million

At 23, Rampbell founded TrialPay to offer consumers free virtual goods – such as game coins – for shopping at a slew of online retailers including Gap, Netflix, and Petco. Of course, TrialPay receives a commission from each sale, and now expects to double its revenue to more than $50 million. Rampbell, along with many other modern day geniuses, attended Harvard University. This guy’s best piece of advice: “Getting the right investors.”

3.) Daniel Ha, 25, Co-founder of Disqus: Funded $14.5 million

Ha co-founded his creation, Disqus, as an antidote to all of the painful problems which occur when trying to open a website for online comments (ie. spammers, harassers, drivel). Disqus’ solution assists website operators in gathering comments for quick approval or denial, while also formatting to render them more readable. Even more impressive, he did all of this while studying computer science at the University of California.

4.) Jared Hecht, 24 and Steve Martocci, 29, Co-founders of GroupMe: Funded $11.5 million

Hecht, a very recent graduate of Columbia University (class of 2009), is the age of some of your best college mates. Carnegie Mellon University graduate Martocci, on the other hand, could be the age of some of your older siblings. In 2010, the pair came up with the idea for GroupMe after Hecht’s fiancée became frustrated because there was no sufficient way to communicate with friends while at music festivals. A few days later, they built a prototype of a group text-messaging service at a tech conference…in only 24 hours. GroupMe now sends over 2 million messages a day and counting.

5.) Rich Aberman, 26 and Bill Clerico, 25, Creators of We Pay: Funded $9.2 million

Even after graduating from Boston College in 2007, Aberman and Clerico were extremely active in organizations by raising money for various events and causes. Their idea spawned as a resolution to this lengthy process, where they then conceived and launched “We Pay,” a company which guarantees a secure and simple way to collect money via internet. What’s crazier, these guys could’ve attended their five year college reunion this year, that is, if they REALLY wanted to gloat.




Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Web Editor

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