10 Successful Entrepreneurs Who Dropped Out Of University


Over the last three decades, the word “dropout” has increasingly become popular among entrepreneurs, especially Silicon Valley billionaires.

No one seeks for college/university admission without a dream of getting a degree, but desperate situations requires desperate measures.

When the university system became too small to accommodate their big dreams, they were forced to hit the roads. Such difficult decisions by these determined men, has provided the world with technologies and services it only could have dreamt of.

1. Michael Dell

Michael Dell is the founder of Dell Computers. He dropped out of the University of Texas at the age of 19 in 1984. He established Dell Computers (previously PCs Ltd) same year. Dell partook in the Personal Computer revolution of the 1980s.

Dell initially started out with building and selling computers directly to customers. He made $6 million from sales just in the first year.

Michael is actually a fighter. He was determined to outshine the early birds, IBM and HP in the market.

That was a dream that came through for him. Series of storms rocked his world, but they only made him stronger. Michael has a net worth of $20.5 billion

2. Steve Jobs

In 1974 Steve Jobs officially dropped out of Reed College, Portland, because college fee was too expensive for him to afford. Although, he still dropped in for classes to learn for free until he was 19. Steve founded Apple in 1975.

Apple launched its first Personal Computer in 1977, and in 1984, they introduced the first PC with GUI and a mouse. Before his death in 2011, Steve has founded/cofounded four major companies. iPhone lovers will always be grateful to him for his ingenuity.

3. Larry Ellison

He dropped out of the University of Chicago at the age of 20. He and his friends got a contract to build a database management system for CIA. That was the beginning of what gave rise to Oracle Corporation.

The firm is currently a world leader in Database Management, and is patronized by a good percentage of Fortune 500 companies. Larry has been the subject of controversial extravagant lifestyles, but he cares not about that. He’s just enjoying his $52.2 billion net worth.

4. Bill Gates

He’s one of the top billionaires who dropped out of the prestigious Harvard University. At 20, Gates had to quit college to start up Microsoft with his friend, Paul Allen built in 1975. Their vision was to put a “computer on every desk”.

42 years down the line, Microsoft is the largest producer of Personal Computers in the world. Gates is a great philanthropist. He has donated more than $30 billion to charity.

5. Mark Zuckerberg

The popular founder of Facebook joined the list of Harvard University dropouts at the age of 20. He launched the first Facebook (known as Facemash) on campus.

The traffic it generated was more than expected and crashed the servers at Harvard. The school management had to shut it down. He knew he had to take the bull by the horn if he must hit a milestone with his new invention.

In 2004, he dropped out to focus on Facebook. Today, Facebook is accessible in virtually all the nations of the world.

6. Evan William

Evan has always had a thing with blogging. The technology fascinates him. He dropped out of the University of Nebraska at the age of 20 in order to co-founded Google’s Blogger and Twitter in 1999 and 2010 respectively.

He was the CEO of Twitter from 2008 to 2010. He had to step down to focus on building a better product strategy for the micro blogging network.

In 2012, he founded a new blogging platform, Medium. He hasn’t been on the radar for a while now, but his works are speaking for him.

7. Travis Kalanick

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), also has a tech guy on the list. The popular co-founder of Uber dropped out at 20. But he didn’t start Uber immediately unlike his tech counterparts.

He tried his hands on a handful of jobs. He held high profile positions in various corporations until the creation of Uber Technologies in 2009. The car transport company currently runs in 633 cities worldwide.

9. Julian Assange

The man who has been the subject of lawsuits and a blurred focus of the alleged Russia’s influence on the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections is a dropout from the University of Melbourne.

He is a renowned hacker who has gotten into troubles a number of times. During his “extreme” hacking days, he hacked into the Pentagon and other U.S. Department of Defense facilities, the U.S. Navy, NASA, telecom companies, bank(s) and universities among others.

He is better known as the founder of Wikileaks which he established in 2006. Wikileaks is a hub of highly classified private and government leaks.

10. John Mackey

John really loved the walls of colleges, but never fancied the degree. He attended 2 universities at Texas concurrently but never graduated from any.

He dropped out of University of Texas with his girlfriend to start Health Food Store, a company that eventually metamorphosed to Whole Foods Market through a series of mergers.

The company is a supermarket chain and a leader in the sales of natural foods. On June 16, 2017, it was announced that Amazon.com will acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion

Their era differs from ours. True. Nonetheless, since these men became “world leaders” in diverse industries without a university certificate, what makes you think you can be any less when you’ve got all it takes.

Excuses are liabilities in the voyage of life.

Please leave a comment.