5 Businesses That Were Started in a College Dorm


While most people know colleges and universities as being powerful places for aspiring business professionals to get the educational foundation they need to find success later on in their careers, these institutions are also hotbeds of innovation. With so many young people together in an educational environment, many young aspiring entrepreneurs actually came up with the ideas for their businesses right in their dorm rooms. Some of these companies are the biggest and most respected in the world today. Take a look at some of the organizations that were developed right on college campuses; you may be surprised to find out how these companies started and who the young entrepreneurs are that got them off the ground.

1. Dell

Dell was one of the first innovators in the world of personal computing. This innovation came from Michael Dell, who founded the organization in his dorm room at the University of Texas in Austin. He started with just $1,000 in capital in 1984 and eventually grew his project into a multi-billion dollar venture with plants across the country. Just two years after starting the company in his dorm, Michael Dell went on to develop the fastest PC the market had ever seen.

2. Facebook

As many people today know, Facebook — the world’s most popular social networking site — first started on campus at Harvard. The dramatic story had enough twists and turns to have its own movie, The Social Network, which follows the process behind Mark Zuckerberg’s development of the famed site.

Today, the insanely popular social networking platform is one of the biggest and most lucrative companies in the world, yet its beginnings were simply in bringing the social component of going to college online. The site first started as just a Harvard platform, eventually included other Ivy League schools, and then expanded to colleges, high schools and then the general public.

3. Yahoo, Inc.

Yahoo, Inc. co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo were studying at Stanford University when they came up with the idea for Yahoo in 1994. The project started as a list of the two founders’ favorite websites. As the site took off, it began to gain traction and developed into a revenue-driving venture. Today, Yahoo is one of the most popular search engines on the Web.

4. Google

Google may have begun as a search engine site, but today, this tech giant has its hands in everything from smart glasses to self-driving cars. The company also got its start on Stanford University’s campus, with co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Together the two college students first launched a website called BackRub in 1996. However, when the company became too big for the Stanford Server, they decided to re-launch the site on their own servers, renaming it Google after the mathematical term “googol.”

5. Microsoft

Today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is known throughout the globe as one of the richest people in the world. However, when Gates first founded his company, he was a student attending Harvard University. Shortly after coming up with the idea for his tech company, he dropped out of school to focus on developing his software empire. Today, he is valued at more than $54 billion, and Microsoft is one of the biggest and most established companies on the planet.

While it may be hard to imagine these companies run by young college students, all of these major corporations actually got their start right on college campuses. These success stories not only showcase the power of hard work and innovation, but also remind future generations of entrepreneurs that no place is too small to start when it comes to developing your own company.

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