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22 Greatest Tech Entrepreneurs of All Time

From the device that you are using to read this article to the spaceships that will take the human race to new heights, we are in an advanced technology era. Throughout this millennium, technology has also allowed many to become entrepreneurs and see their dreams come true. This is due in part to the success and accomplishment of some visionary entrepreneurs. Let’s take a look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time and what makes them great.

Just to be clear, this list is in no particular order.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is often celebrated as one of the greatest technology entrepreneurs in history. In fact, he is also considered one of if not, the greatest entrepreneur ever. When he co-founded Apple Inc. alongside Steve Wozniak, he started the journey of changing this world forever. Although Apple began as a personal computing company, it has gone on to create the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, and is even a streaming service.

His leadership at Apple and its impact on the global technology landscape has left an indelible mark. His vision of making personal technology accessible and indispensable in daily life has become a reality as you may be reading this article using an Apple product. Jobs also co-founded Pixar Animation Studios and contributed to his entrepreneurial legacy. Its had success with films that blended technological innovation with storytelling. He eventually sold the company to Disney for $7.4 billion in 2004.

Apple was the first company to surpass a market cap of $1 trillion and is currently the world’s 2nd most valuable company behind Microsoft.


Elon Musk

All of Elon Musk's Companies

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during a press conference for Tesla Firmware 7.0 in Beijing, China, 23 October 2015.

Born Elon Reeve Musk, he is the eldest of three children of Errol and Maye Musk. Maye was a dietician and model, and Errol was an electromechanical engineer, pilot, and sailor. The Musk siblings – Elon, Kimbal, and Tosca – were raised in South Africa. 

One of Elon Musk’s first businesses was called Zip2. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in physics and economics, Elon Musk moved to California to earn his Ph.D. at Stanford University. He did not finish his studies at Stanford. Instead, he began his career as an entrepreneur. In 1995, Elon and his brother, Kimbal, started Zip2 Corporation. Which served as an online directory and city guide to newspapers and other publications. They were able to grow their business thanks to their efforts and the cash flow from an angel investor in Silicon Valley. As a result of the company’s success, in 1999, Compaq – an American computer manufacturer – acquired Zip2 Corporation. Elon Musk earned $22 Million from the sale of his first company and used it to fund his next venture.

After the 2008 financial crisis, Elon Musk’s companies started to take off. In December of 2008, the space exploration technologies corporation, SpaceX, closed a $1.6 Billion contract with NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.  Tesla was able to raise $226 Million from the IPO in June 2021. 

In 2021, Elon Musk made headlines. He topped the world’s billionaires with a net worth of  $185 billion, replacing Jeff Bezos of Amazon as the previously hailed richest man in the world. Currently, Elon Musk’s net worth is approximately $195 billion.


Mark Zuckerberg

Photo credit: Anthony Quintano

Starting Facebook from his dorm room in 2004, Mark Zuckerberg has become the prototypical example of a college student entrepreneur.  

In 2006, Facebook was making major waves in the social networking space. At only two years old, Facebook was a college site with roughly 8 million users. According to Peter Thiel who was an early investor in Facebook, the company was making $30 million in revenue but it was not profitable.

Yahoo, Inc. came knocking and offered to buy Facebook for $1 billion. Thiel recalls reminding Zuckerberg that he owned 25% of the company and could do so much with the money. The 22-year-old Zuckerberg responded by saying, “I don’t know what I could do with the money. I’d just start another social networking site. I kind of like the one I already have.”

Facebook would go on to an IPO in May of 2012. As of 2024, Facebook enjoys revenue of around $134 billion annually. Zuckerberg hovers in the top 5 spots of the world’s richest people with a net worth of approximately $167 billion.


Sergey Brin and Larry Page

When Sergey Brin and Larry Page co-founded Google in their dorm room, it is doubtful they knew that the product would change the world forever. While search engines were a popular tool for internet users in the early 2000s, Google quickly became the leader in the field. Eventually, the term “Google it” has become synonymous with searching the internet and is even featured in several dictionaries.

Beyond search, Google has expanded into various sectors. They primarily make their money through advertising, mobile operating systems (Android), cloud computing, and more, under their guidance.

Brin and Page collectively own Class C shares and Class B shares of their company. This special Class of shares allows them to sell Class A and C shares and still retain control of their company. While this amount is only 3% of the company, that amounts to about 20 million shares.


Bill Gates

Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. https://depositphotos.com/ChinaImages

Gates founded Microsoft in 1975 and today owns just over 1% of its shares. It all began with the need to write the code for a BASIC interpreter on the platform of an Altair 8800. From there it went to working with IBM and creating an operating system with 86-DOS. Windows launched in 1985 and growth since then has been non-stop, with one idea building off of another, i.e., Microsoft Suites, Xbox, Hotmail, etc. Today Gates’s net worth is more than $127 billion.

 Gates and Paul Allen launched Microsoft in 1975 and launched their first version of Windows in 1985. Gates is known for his legendary ability to problem-solve. That determination to find solutions coupled with a willingness to spend hours on end writing code, helped Microsoft become the software behemoth it is today and has made Bill Gates one of the wealthiest and most influential people on the planet.

On June 15, 2006, Gates began his transition out of his day-to-day role as CEO of Microsoft in order to dedicate more time to philanthropic work.

Jeff Bezos

Photo: Daniel Oberhaus, 2019

After working on Wall Street and bank-related fields, the Princeton grad saw the possibility that the internet was becoming and utilized it to his advantage when first starting Amazon back in 1994. At first, Amazon was just an online retailer for books, but over time, the company vastly expanded to encompass other products and services.

Amazon is now the biggest online retailer on the internet, with retail sales ranging in the billions. This visionary and hard-working individual has revolutionized the way we shop, and now, Amazon currently ranks as the fourth most valuable website in the world.

Not since Bill Gates and Steve Jobs has there been another entrepreneur who has changed an entire industry the way Bezos has. The entire retail sector reacts to what Amazon is now doing. Besides building one of the world-changing businesses in history, Bezos has also had an aspiration to reach the stars with his private space endeavor called Blue Origin. 

Bezos is now the 2nd wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of $190 billion.

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey, born on November 19, 1976, in St. Louis, Missouri, is a pioneering American entrepreneur best known for co-founding Twitter, a leading social media platform, and Square, Inc., a financial services and mobile payment company. Dorsey’s early fascination with computers and programming led him to New York University, although he dropped out before completing his degree.

In 2006, Dorsey, along with Biz Stone and Evan Williams, developed the idea for Twitter, a platform that revolutionized how people communicate and share information online. Serving as Twitter’s CEO from its inception and then again from 2015 to 2021, Dorsey played a crucial role in the company’s growth and influence in global communication and media. In 2009, Dorsey launched Square, Inc., aiming to enable small businesses to accept card payments easily.

The success of Twitter and Square has made Dorsey one of the most influential entrepreneurs of our time. Square market cap as of 2024 is $50 billion. As you may know, Twitter became a public company and was sold to Elon Musk for $44 billion. Musk renamed the platform X and has faced criticisms about the changes he has made to the social media app.

Because of this, it seems, Dorsey is not done developing social platforms. Recently, he joined the board of directors of Bluesky Social. The company is looking to launch a new decentralized social networking platform.

Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison is the co-founder, executive chairman, and CTO of Oracle Corporation. Oracle is a multinational computer technology corporation known for its comprehensive and fully integrated cloud applications and platform services. Ellison dropped out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago but moved to California, where he began working on database software.

In 1977, Ellison co-founded Software Development Laboratories (SDL), which was later renamed Oracle, after its flagship product, the Oracle database. Under Ellison’s leadership, Oracle became a dominant player in the database market, expanding its offerings to cloud computing, enterprise software, and hardware products.

Ellison’s aggressive acquisition strategy and innovation in technology have made Oracle a key player in the tech industry. His competitive nature and sharp business acumen have positioned him as one of the wealthiest individuals globally.

Reid Hoffman


Reid Hoffman is best known as the co-founder of LinkedIn. Before LinkedIn, Hoffman was a member of the PayPal Mafia. The so-called Mafia was a group of former PayPal employees who have since founded and developed additional technology companies. This list of Paypal Mafia members includes well-known entrepreneurs like Peter Thiel and Elon Musk.

Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn in 2002. Once platforms like MySpace and Facebook paved the way for social networks, LinkedIn gained traction by being a professional networking media site. LinkedIn was sold to Microsoft in 2016 for $26.2 billion. Hoffman has gone into the world of podcasting by hosting a show called Masters of Scale. The show’s guests have been some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs including Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky and Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings.


Jensen Huang

Jensen Huang is the co-founder, President, and CEO of NVIDIA Corporation. He stands out as a visionary in the world of computing and artificial intelligence (AI). Since founding NVIDIA in 1993, Huang has been at the forefront of driving innovations in graphics processing unit (GPU) technology. Interestingly enough, the company originally focused on enhancing video game graphics. However, NVIDIA’s technology has become integral to a wide range of industries. It is now used in automotive, robotics, and, most notably, artificial intelligence and deep learning.

Huang’s pioneering work in parallel computing has led to the development of GPUs capable of processing vast amounts of data simultaneously. This technology has enabled breakthroughs in machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing.

His strategic vision has also guided NVIDIA’s expansion into data center technologies and the development of comprehensive platforms for AI development and deployment. Huang’s contributions to computing have had a profound impact on how we interact with technology. We are seeing this in how AI is becoming more accessible and influential in everyday life.

As of 2024, Huang has a net worth of over $74 billion.

Also read: The 40 Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Time


Reed Hastings

Reed Hastings is best known as the co-founder and CEO of Netflix, Inc., a streaming media and production company. Before Netflix, Hastings founded Pure Software, a company that made tools for software developers.

After a successful IPO and subsequent mergers, Hastings left the company to pursue new ventures. In 1997, he co-founded Netflix as a DVD rental service after not wanting to pay late fees at Blockbuster Video. Blockbuster was the leading video rental chain in the U.S. Hastings company Netflix evolved into a streaming platform that revolutionized how people consume entertainment. Ultimately, the perception was that the service killed Blockbuster and the video store industry as a whole.

In 2013, Netflix reported that it had added two million United States customers during the fourth quarter of 2012, with a total of 27.1 million United States and 29.4 million total streaming customers worldwide.

In a 2010 press release, CEO Reed Hastings referenced one of the main factors to Netflix’s success. He said, “It is clear that our performance, and the overall appeal of the Netflix service, is being driven by subscribers watching instantly.”

Even with all of the competition from Amazon Video, Disney+, Hulu, and other streaming services, Netflix is still king. The service has 260.28 million users as of 2024 $33 billion.


Garrett Camp

Garrett Camp grew up in Canada and attended the University of Calgary. While in college, Camp co-founded StumbleUpon which was the first web discovery platform. The company moved to San Francisco in 2006 after receiving its initial funding from Silicon Valley Angels. StumbleUpon was subsequently bought by eBay for $75 million. Camp’s next idea was Uber, designed to be a taxi-hailing app. 

Travis Kalanick was brought on as an advisor by Garret Camp who was working on the concept of Uber with his friends. Kalanick served as Uber’s CEO from 2010 to 2017 and also served on its board until 2019.  

In 2013, Garrett focused his attention on developing Expa, a startup studio that engages entrepreneurs to develop and launch new products. Expa is designed to increase the chances of success for a given startup and it received its first 50 million from investors in March 2014. By 2015, Camp was the 3rd richest Canadian with a net worth estimated at $5.1 billion as of March 2024.


Jack Ma

Jack Ma was born Ma Yun in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China in 1964. The former English teacher went on to co-found Alibaba Group, a multinational e-commerce retail and tech company. After college, Ma experienced a lot of hardships trying to find the right career. He faced a lot of rejection on his way to finding the right career. Ma even claims that he applied for jobs at KFC the company expanded to his town. He claims out of the 24 people who applied, 23 were hired and he was the only one that was rejected.

However, in 1994, he became intrigued with the internet which was becoming a hot topic. He started his first website and in 1999 he started Alibaba. By the year 2,000 the company won$25,000 in investments from Goldman Sachs. As of the time of this writing, the company generates $126 billion in annual revenue. Ma’s estimated net worth is approximately $24 billion making him one of the richest people in the world.


Michael Dell

Dell Technologies is one of the world’s biggest computer companies in the world. They are known for making some of the most popular laptops and desktops including the Dell XPS 17 which is known as one of the best business laptops in the world. Dell started the company in 1984 while a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. He had a revolutionary idea of selling personal computers directly to customers. By doing this, it allowed his customers to customize their PC orders. This direct-sales model was innovative.

The tech innovation allowed Dell to underprice competitors while ensuring customer satisfaction. Dell Technologies grew rapidly, expanding its offerings beyond PCs to storage, servers, networking, and software solutions. After a few setbacks in the early 2000s Dell Technologies has returned as one of the greatest tech companies on the planet and Michael Dell is now recognized as one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time.

Kevin Systrom/Mike Krieger (Instagram)

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are noted for establishing Instagram which is currently the largest photo-sharing website in the world. Systrom was raised in Massachusetts, and he graduated with a B.A. in management science and engineering from Stanford. Systrom worked at Google for two years before leaving to develop a program called Burbn. 

Under Systrom’s guidance, Instagram has incorporated various features including photographic filters, geotagging, video, and tagging. Facebook purchased the platform in 2012 for $1 billion in cash and stock. 

You can read our interview with Mike Krieger here.

John Warnock & Charles Geschke (Adobe)

John Warnock and Charles Geschke co-founded Adobe Systems Incorporated in December 1982. Both were former Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) employees who saw the potential for the graphics and text processing technologies they had been working on.

Adobe’s first product was PostScript. It was a revolutionary page description language that transformed the desktop publishing industry. It did this by enabling text and graphics to be printed exactly as they appeared on screen.

This innovation laid the foundation for the development of PDF (Portable Document Format). It also allowed for the creation of Adobe Acrobat. But the company wasn’t done. They changed the world with the development of a suite of creative and multimedia software including Photoshop, Illustrator, and the Creative Cloud services. Their leadership and vision have significantly influenced the way visual content is created, shared, and consumed globally.

Thomas Edison

With over 1,000 patents to his name, Edison was a prolific inventor whose work significantly impacted the modern industrialized world. Most people know Edison as the man who perfected the high-resistance, incandescent electric light. He founded Edison Electric Light Company in 1878, which later became General Electric. GE is still one of the largest publicly traded companies worldwide.

Edison’s remarkable work ethic is what enabled him to accomplish so much in his 84 years of life. One of his most popular quotes on failure “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” has motivated entrepreneurs and other individuals for decades. His innovative approach to problem-solving set new standards for technological development and entrepreneurship.

Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc. alongside Steve Jobs, is renowned for his revolutionary contributions to personal computing. Wozniak, often called “Woz,” designed the Apple I in 1976 and the Apple II in 1977, the latter of which became one of the first highly successful mass-produced personal computers.

His engineering prowess, combined with Jobs’ vision, laid the groundwork for Apple’s future successes. Beyond Apple, Wozniak has been involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, emphasizing technology in education and fostering innovation.

Wang began her career by working with her sister, who had co-founded a motherboard manufacturing company in 1982, as a marketing representative for motherboards of personal computers. She founded HTC (High Technology Company) in 1997, and marketed and manufactured one of the first touch and wireless hand-held devices, the Notebook.

Accurately reading the market, Wang switched from laptops to mobile phones and PDAs. In 2015 HTC began moving into the virtual reality world and started making head-mounted displays. Today HTC is expanding into the Internet of Things with virtual reality. Wang was rated the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in 2014.

Cher Wang-HTC

Wang began her career by working with her sister, who had co-founded a motherboard manufacturing company in 1982, as a marketing representative for motherboards of personal computers. She founded HTC (High Technology Company) in 1997, and marketed and manufactured one of the first touch and wireless hand-held devices, the Notebook.

Accurately reading the market, Wang switched from laptops to mobile phones and PDAs. In 2015 HTC began moving into the virtual reality world and started making head-mounted displays. Today HTC is expanding into the Internet of Things with virtual reality. Wang was rated the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in 2014.


Ralph Paul on Twitter
Ralph Paul
Ralph is the Managing Editor at StartUp Mindset. The StartUp Mindset team consists of dedicated individuals and is designed to help new, seasoned, and aspiring entrepreneurs succeed.

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Ralph is the Managing Editor at StartUp Mindset. The StartUp Mindset team consists of dedicated individuals and is designed to help new, seasoned, and aspiring entrepreneurs succeed.

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