The entrepreneur success stories you may not have heard of

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Most of us know Mark Zuckerburg’s success story; inventing, developing and building a generation defining social media network, all from the comfort of his Havard dorm room. A truly inspirational story, this is a case which every aspiring entrepreneur dreams of replicating.

Not every rise to the top has been so widely publicised, and not every entrepreneur has had such a quick transition from start up to worldwide phenomenon. Everyone, yes even Mark, has had a set back here and there.

The stories behind these companies may just inspire you.

Frederick W Smith, Founder and CEO of FedEx


With the boom of online shopping came the requirement for quick and efficient delivery services. Enter FedEx. Founded by Frederick. W. Smith, he was one step ahead of the trend having been delivering packages overnight to anywhere in the world since 1971.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing from the start; three years after the company began, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy with investors running for the hills. At make it or break it stage, Smith took the remaining $5,000 and made enough to keep the planes running for a few more days. Turns out, those few extra days were all he needed- Frederick managed to raise $11 million to keep things afloat. Today the company is worth $25-35 million.

Sometimes things are really worth taking a gamble for.

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Actor and start- up investor, Ashton Kutcher

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Mainly known for his acting career, many would be surprised that Ashton Kutcher puts an equal amount of time and effort into making investments in start-up companies. Having once sold blood in exchange for money, Kutcher has made some wise investments to include Skype, Foursquare, Airbnb, Path and amongst many others. His bank balance should definitely be looking healthier now.

If that wasn’t enough he has recently joined forces with no other than Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerburg to make a $40 million investment in artificial intelligence firm Vicarious FPC.






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Co-founder, Whatsapp, Brian Acton


Not feeling dissuaded after having been turn down for a job at Facebook HQ, Brian “looked forward to life’s next adventure“ and with the help of partner Jan Koum. That next adventure would be the invention of Whatsapp. Fast forward a number of years later and it is Brian who is well and truly having the last laugh.

After securing a ~14bn deal for the sale of the instant messaging app from Facebook, Acton and his co-founder have even made it into the Forbes’ global billionaires list, meaning that he can well and truly rest easy that being rejected from both Facebook was the best thing that ever happened to him.






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Tumblr founder David Karp

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David Karp was ambitious from an early age. In a very brave move, David packed up his bags and moved from New York to Tokyo with nothing more than a few words of Japanese and a keen interest in computer coding. Worried that clients would be put off by his youthful appearance and lack of experience, David told a few white lies about his age and size of his team.

Having returned to America David set up Tumblr in 2007 from his bedroom, David now 27 is responsible for one of the internet’s fastest growing start-ups.  Having sold Tumblr to Yahoo for $1.1 billion, he has certainly proved his critics wrong.

Are you the next big success story?






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