25 People Who Were CEOs Before They Were 25

For most of us, running our own company is a distant dream. After all, it takes years to work your way to the top, right? Well sadly, that’s not an excuse any of us can hide behind anymore. The following entrepreneurs were CEOs by the ripe-old-age of 25, proving that whilst you might be young, you can still run the world (or at least an multinational corporation).

  1. Jared Hecht Jared co-founded the mobile group-messaging app, GroupMe. Having launched the private company in 2010, he made the decision to sell the rights for the app to Skype in August 2011, making just over $80 million at the age of 23.


  2. Suhas Gopinath At the age of just 17, Suhas, an Indian entrepreneur, took charge as CEO of Global INC, a multinational IT company, just three years after he founded the project himself. At the time he resumed the position, he was labelled the world’s youngest CEO.


  3. David Karp Karp is the founder and CEO of the social networking site Tumblr, and has remained as such despite its sale to Yahoo! for $1.1 billion in 2013. According to Forbes, the now 29-year-old has accumulated a net worth of $200 million since founding the website in 2007.


  4. Sean Parker When Parker was just 15, he and his co-founder started drawing up plans for Napster, their free file-sharing service for music, which they launched a few years later in 1999. As if this weren’t impressive enough, Parker also served as the President of Facebook for a number of years and is now rumoured to be worth over $2 billion in total.


  5. Evan Spiegel Spiegel made a name for himself as the American internet entrepreneur who become the co-founder and CEO of Snapchat at the age of just 21. Having proposed the idea behind the app in a class at Stanford, he left the University before finishing his degree in order to pursue its making.


  6. Drew Houston We all have Houston to thank for the online backup and storage service, Dropbox. At 25 he founded the hosting software and remains CEO to this day, however his net worth has somewhat increased since his early days to a staggering $1.3 billion.


  7. Daniel Ek Swedish-born Daniel started his first company in 1997 at the age of 14. Since then, he has been fairly unstoppable in the world of technology, with his most recent venture, Spotify, a music streaming service which he founded in 2006, remaining the most popular of its kind ever since.


  8. Kevin Systrom Systrom is the co-founder and CEO of Instagram, an incredibly popular social networking service based on photographs and videos. As one of the fastest growing apps of all time, it was no surprise that Facebook bought the service for $1 billion, just two years after its launch. Since then, Systrom has remained CEO and is now worth over $400 million, despite being just 25 at its outset.


  9. Sean Rad Rad is no longer the CEO of Tinder, however he remains the public face of the online-dating app he co-founded in 2012. Somewhat of a serial entrepreneur, Tinder wasn’t Rad’s first exploit, and it won’t be his last, but it certainly was his most successful to date having been valued recently at an enormous $5 billion.


  10. Nick D’Aloisio D’Aloisio is the English computer programmer responsible for Summly – a summarisation technology designed to allow the user quick and easy access to a range of news content. Currently aged only 19, he has been labelled one of the world’s most influential teenagers, and having now sold Summly for millions, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from him after he finishes his degree at Oxford University.


  11. Harli Jordean Branded the world’s ‘tiniest tycoon’, 8-year-old Harli from London turned his childhood passion for marbles into a thriving business in 2009. Marble King, his online marble empire, turns over thousands of pounds a year, selling anything from tubs of rare marbles to solitaire tables across the world.


  12. Zac Williams Whilst most of us would have wallowed in the rejection from our first post-university job, within weeks Zac was on the way to changing the way graduate employment was done in the UK. GradTouch was founded in 2010, and has since cultivated an impressive network of clients across the world with whom tens of thousands of students and graduates have been paired. 


  13. Michael Rubin Michael founded GSI Commerce, a technology and services company that provides e-commerce to brands and retailers, in 1999. By 2011, he had grown the company sufficiently to interest eBay, and sold it for the healthy sum of $2.4 billion, making him one of the world’s youngest self-made billionaires.


  14. Kevin Plank At the age of 23, Plank founded Under Armour, manufacturer of sports performance apparel. Since then, he has acquired a net worth of $3.5 billion and is consistently recognised by Forbes as one of the youngest, most powerful businessman in America.


  15. Ben Kaufman Quirky is the brain-child of Kaufman and was founded in 2009, when he was just 21. It is an online community that votes on invention ideas and has succeeded in making invention accessible to the home owner. This year, they will make an average of 30 new home-gadgets that have been widely approved worldwide.


  16. Susan Gregg-Kroger Susan is the co-founder of ModCloth, a vintage and indie clothing website. She started and managed the site while still at university at Carnegie Mellon, and it is now worth over $15m at the age of 25.


  17. Carly Ward When Carly was just 19, she launched the Young Entrepreneur Society, which offers advice to young people on how to be successful. In 2011, she won an award for inspirational women and has continued her good work ever since.


  18. Pete Cashmore Cashmore is the founder and CEO of Mashable, a popular source of tech news and information for the younger generation. Aged just 19 at the time of the blog’s origin, his motivation has shown no signs of flailing, as he now plans to transform Mashable from a tech blog into an online media company.


  19. Sean Belnick Now 22, Sean started his office furniture company, BizChair, at the remarkably young age of 14. He sells office chairs to multinational corporations such as Google and Microsoft and is worth an estimated $50 million.


  20. Juliette Brindak Juliette started her tween social networking site, Miss O & Friends, when she was a mere 10-years-old. She remains CEO of the American company to this day and has since launched a line of books associated with the brand, bringing her estimated worth to more than $15 million.


  21. Fraser Doherty The Scottish entrepreneur is the current CEO of his jam manufacturing company, Super Jam. His dedication stems from his having left school to pursue the dream, and it has certainly paid off, with the company now supplying most of the major supermarkets in the UK.


  22. Matt Mullenweg Matthew co-created WordPress, the globally renowned online blogging platform, at the age of just 19. He is now worth an estimated $250 million and remains CEO of the parent company, Automattic, to this day. 


  23. Jacqueline Gold Although not the founder of Ann Summers, Jacqueline did take the company over from her father at an incredibly young age. She saw the potential within the brand to transform it from a chain of seedy adult shops into a home marketing plan for women’s sex toys, and therefore made it the approachable establishment it is today.


  24. Ella Woodward Instagram sensation Ella made a name for herself when her debut healthy cookbook, Deliciously Ella, became the fastest selling of its kind in history. The brand has since become a multimedia phenomenon and at just 23, she is set to rival the wealth of her mother, heiress to the Sainsbury’s fortune.


  25. Mark Zuckerberg No list dedicated to the young and successful would be complete without the King of them all – Mark Zuckerberg. Having had a Hollywood blockbuster dedicated to his uprising, there are very few people that don’t know the drill, but the internet entrepreneur is the best-known of the five co-founders of Facebook. As a result, he’s estimated to be worth a stunning $38.5 billion. Well done, sir.
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Think you could make it as a CEO of a billion dollar tech company? Well, here’s your chance. For one day, and one day only, Skyscanner are looking for some budding entrepreneur to take over as CEO. You’ll provide insights into all their products, test changes to the site and provide feedback on company strategy – and you’ll get paid £2,500 to do so! Click below for more information and to apply.