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10 Entrepreneurs Who Made Their First Million by 23

These people were rolling in the dough at a very young age

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Comparison may be the thief of joy but for aspiring entrepreneurs, it seems to be a key source of hope. By now we’ve all read stories about our favorite founders launching their billion-dollar businesses later in life: Jeff Bezos left a career on Wall Street and founded Amazon at 31, Ray Kroc bought McDonald’s at 52 and the founders of Home Depot were well into their 40s when they got fired from a home improvement store and decided to start their own. 

 

But just as it’s never too late to start monetizing your dreams, for some, it’s never too early. Scroll down for 10 whiz kids who managed to make their first million before turning 24. Brace yourself, these success stories just might light the fire your hustle’s been waiting for.

Sir Richard Branson, 23

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These days we consider Sir Richard Branson the picture of a fun-loving billionaire, but the 68-year-old mogul started hustling when he was just 16. After starting a successful magazine, Branson dropped out of school and began a mail-order record business called—you guessed it—Virgin. He then founded the Virgin record label in 1972, and in 1973 made his first million dollars after one of his signed artists, Mike Oldfield, sold over 5 million copies of his record, Tubular Bells. Doesn’t sound like a hit but hey, the ‘70s were weird.

Mark Zuckerberg, 22

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You may have heard of this guy. After launching a little social network called The Facebook from his Harvard dorm room in 2004, Mark Zuckerberg officially became a 22-year-old millionaire in 2006 after dropping the "The," receiving investments from the likes of Peter Thiel and Jim Breyer, and opening up membership to the public. Just a year later he made the leap to billionaire status, becoming the world's youngest self-made billionaire in history—until Kylie Jenner came along (yes, we know, “Self-made” is a stretch there).

Evan Spiegel, 23

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For someone whose success rests entirely on the ephemeral, Evan Spiegel's bank account seems pretty sturdy. The co-founder of Snapchat earned his first million when he was 23, just a few years after developing the disappearing photo app while studying at Stanford. Now, the 29-year-old CEO of Snap Inc., which includes Bitmoji and the smart glasses brand, Spectacles, has an estimated net worth of $3.4 billion.

Patrick & John Collison, 19 & 17

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These Irish-born brothers are better known as the tech world wunderkinds behind Stripe, the payment platform picked up by Amazon, Lyft, Facebook, and thousands of small businesses across the globe. But this multi-billion dollar startup is, in fact, their second Silicon Valley venture. When they were still teens, Patrick and John created Auctomatic, software that provides auction and marketplace management. Just a year after its conception, the company sold to Canadian firm Live Current Media for $5 million. At 19 and 17 years old, the Collisons became overnight millionaires.

Juliette Brindak , 17

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Ask any marketing guru and they'll tell you: tween girls have a ton of buying power—up to $600 billion of it. But when a 16-year-old Juliette Brindak launched a social network for young girls, she set out to create a safe space for users to interact, share advice, and feel empowered. The multi-million fortune she would acquire was simply a happy bonus (gotta love digital ad sales). Brindak founded Miss O and Friends in 2005, quickly garnering millions of monthly visitors. She reportedly took in her first million bucks a year later, at 17, and when Procter & Gamble invested in the company in 2008, it was worth upwards of $15 mil. Now 30, Brindak remains the Chief Executive Officer of the site and has even produced a YouTube television series based on her own life.

Madison Robinson, 15

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Never underestimate the power of funky footwear. Or, in this case, fishy footwear. Burgeoning fashion entrepreneur Madison Robinson began designing ocean life-inspired flip flops when she was just 8 years old, coining the name of her would-be brand "FishFlops." With the help of her father, she turned it into a full-scale business and by the time she was 15 had sold out her brand at major retailers including Macy's and Nordstrom, raking in her first million.

Jonathan Koon, 16

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At 36, this Queens-born Jack of all Trades has already had a lifetime's worth of dream jobs. The artist, fashion designer, and denim enthusiast worked with Jay-Z as Rocawear's first manufacturing partner, designed clothes for Domenico Vacca, launched his own label and retail store called Private Stock in NYC, and currently manufactures upscale streetwear under his $80 million privately owned company, Tykoon Brand Holdings. But when he became a self-made millionaire at just 16, his hustle had nothing to do with fashion. In 1998, while he was still in high school, Koon made a name for himself in the auto parts industry, launching Extreme Performance Motorsports. He imported custom car tuning parts from Asia and became one of the main suppliers for MTV's Pimp My Ride. Then he drove straight to the bank.

Benjamin Kapelushnik, 16

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You haven't met a sneakerhead until you've met this kid. Business has been boomin' for Benjamin Kapelushnik a.k.a. Benjamin Kickz a.k.a. "The Sneaker Don," since he started making moves in the sneaker resale market in middle school. An introduction to DJ Khaled in 2014 led to a slew of major celebrity clients, and by the time he was 16, The Don was dealing rare kicks to the likes of P. Diddy and Chris Brown. It wasn't long before he secured his first million. Now 20, Benjamin has a major social media following, plenty of A-list customers, and his own retail site, Sneakerdon.com.

Moziah Bridges, 15

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You know what they say, "Dress for the job you want." So it was only a matter of time before dapper bow tie designer Moziah Bridges became the millionaire CEO his wardrobe reflected. The founder of Mo's Bows first made waves when he appeared on Shark Tank back in 2014. The then 12-year-old had asked for $50,000 in exchange for 20 percent equity, but instead received a priceless offer from FUBU founder Daymond John; rather than have Bridges take any money, he'd mentor him for free. In the long run, it paid off. After landing Mo's Bows on the shelves of luxury retailers, and on the necks of clients including Barack Obama, Bridges signed a seven-figure deal with the NBA in 2017. Not bad for a 15-year-old.

 

Related: Here Are the 6 Best Tips for Running a Family Business

Related: What It Was Like to Be a Summer Intern 10 Years Ago vs. Today

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