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7 Top Startups Launched in College You Didn't Know About

Written by Contributor, on 7th Sep 2017. Posted in General

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Though Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel have become the role models for millennials around the world, they are not the only successful young entrepreneurs that created their startups in college.

1. Squarespace

Founder: Anthony Casalena

School: University of Maryland

In 2003, Anthony Casalena built the first version of Squarespace in his dorm room. It wasn’t even called that way then. He didn’t even set out to start a business. Casalena wanted to build his own website, but couldn’t find the service to satisfy his needs. He wanted an all-encompassing website development toolkit. As a result, Casalena began to work on a platform that would function as a one-stop solution.

When one of Casalena’s friends offered a few hundred dollars for using this tool, he understood he was onto something. So, he got a $30,000 investment from his father and set about launching a business. In 2004, the company called Squarespace appeared. Today it drives over $100M in annual revenue.

2. EssayService

Founder: Jennifer Lockman

School: The University of California

On her freshman year, Jennifer Lockman spent hours with her nose in the books and wanted no other career but to be a journalist. Jennifer was good at essay writing, and once her roommate asked her to write a paper. Jennifer was very busy with a book review and simply couldn’t help. The roommate was so persistent that she even offered Jennifer 20$. Lockman suggested her to buy an essay from some professional service.

When Jennifer discussed this situation with her friend Michelle, they came up with an idea to write papers for money. On the initial stage, it was just two of them who wrote and edited papers on literature. In 2017, EssayService attracts the fastest and most efficient writers who produce the range of academic services, more information can be found here. The service has 4,9 average rating for 12366 reviews. Jennifer is the editor-in-chief of the educational blog and provides students with how-to writing guides.

3. Insomnia Cookies

Founder: Seth Berkowitz

School: University of Pennsylvania

In 2003, Seth Berkowitz was a Penn junior majoring in economics. Burning the midnight oil, he hadn’t many late-night meals options. So he decided to bake some cookies on his own.

In 2004, Berkowitz started a cookie-delivery business in his off-campus house on the Beige Block. Initially, he created the recipe with his girlfriend and handed out free cookies to advertise the product. After that, a young entrepreneur started to bake the cookies to order and deliver them to student’s doors.

He kept testing new recipes and started delivering cookies off-campus apartment with the help of friends. Over 100 locations are mostly situated by university campuses.

4. ModCloth

Founders: Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger

School: Carnegie Mellon

A major e-commerce fashion website was started by two high school sweethearts. The story of ModCloth begins in 2000. Eric and Susan went to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. Susan was amazed by pre-worn items at vintage sales. And Eric who had necessary technical skills helped her launch an e-commerce site to sell those gems. They found it a good way to earn some cash and pay for books and cover a part of their living expenses. And ModCloth really supported them throughout college.

In 2005, the number of orders at the site reached 70,000 a day. The pair realized that it could be their full-time job after graduation in 2006.

The business kept growing. When it surpassed $100 million in sales, ModCloth opened offices in California in 2010. It is still considered one of the top e-commerce fashion sites.

5. Kinko's

Founder: Paul Orfalea

School: University of Southern California

One day, Orfalea fixed his eye on a huge line of people waiting to use the university’s copy center. As he applied the knowledge he gained from a marketing course; Paul came up with a business idea.

With a $5,000 loan, Orfalea leased an 80-square-foot stand near the campus, rented a small Xerox copier and started making copies for four cents a page. Together with his friends, he also sold about $2,000 a day worth of school supplies out of the makeshift store. It was in 1970.

Orfalea sold a majority stake in his business in 1997. By that time, the chain of copy centers had annual revenues over $1.5 billion.

6. Clinkle

Founder: Lucas Duplan

School: Stanford University

Duplan joined a study abroad program and spent his freshman year in London. There he decided to work on mobile payments. When he was 19, Duplan rented a house using money from his parents and a summer program. He begins gathering up a group of Stanford undergraduate and graduate students to work on the company. He worked on his startup full-time and managed to graduate a year earlier.

The mysterious app wasn't even launched when Duplan's 50-person team raised the entire $25 million. And it’s the largest seed round in Silicon Valley history.

7. Warby Parker

Founder: David Gilboa

College: University of Pennsylvania

The company was founded as a rebellious upstart to tackle the problem of expensive eyewear in 2010. When Gilboa lost his glasses on a backpacking trip, he couldn’t afford to replace them as a grad student. He did some researched and was shocked to discover that glasses were generally marked up 10 to 20 times the production cost. Gilboa met his fellow classmate Neil Blumenthal, and they teamed up to launch a more affordable eyewear company. Warby Parker has sold over 1 million pairs of glasses and raised over $200M in funding.

If you believe you have a worthwhile idea and have enough passion for bringing it to life, you’ll likely succeed more than you’ll fail. Whether you’re in college or out of school, it’s possible to launch a startup at any phase of your life.

About the Author: Michelle Brooks is the independent writer and quality editor at the EssayService blog. Her professional expertise includes general education, entrepreneurship and lifestyle. 

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/

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