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Forever young: A selection of under-30 world-changers since 1917

The story of youthful entrepreneurs is older than Forbes itself

Published: Nov 3, 2017 07:18:01 AM IST
Updated: Nov 2, 2017 12:52:25 PM IST

Forever young: A selection of under-30 world-changers since 1917 Howard Hughes
Image: Bettmann /Getty Images

Walter L Jacobs
Founder, Rent-A-Car
In 1918, 22-year-old Chicagoan begins renting fleet of 12 Model T Fords; revenues top $1 million by 1925; sells out to John Hertz, remains president of Hertz Corp until 1960.

Howard Hughes

Film Producer
The wealthy oil-patch heir storms Hollywood; by 1927, the 22-year-old has financial, critical hits with Everybody’s Acting and Two Arabian Knights. Later: Hughes Aircraft, RKO, TWA, Vegas casino, recluse.

Ernest and Julio Gallo

Co-Founders, E&J Gallo Winery
Following Prohibition, 24-year-old Ernest borrows $6,000 from his mother-in-law in 1933 to start a winery; with brother Julio, they make E&J into America’s largest winemaker; perennial members of Forbes 400.

Patrick J Frawley

Founder, Frawley Pen Co
As a teenager, the Nicaraguan-born American sells tyres to Panama; in 1949, at 26, buys failing ballpoint-pen maker and develops leakproof Paper Mate, sells to Gillette. Second act: Schick razors.

Dan and Frank Carney

Co-Founders, Pizza Hut
Two Wichita State students, 27 and 20, borrow $600 from mom to open Pizza Hut in 1958; start franchising 1959; delivery pioneers sell to PepsiCo in 1977 for $300 million.

Saul Steinberg

Founder, Leasco
Brooklyn-born financier starts by leasing IBM mainframes, becomes infamous as corporate raider; 1968 hostile takeover of Reliance Insurance makes the 29-year-old rich; unsuccessful runs at Chemical Bank, Disney; finally, bankruptcy.

Debbi Fields

Founder, Mrs Fields
In 1977, the recently married 21-year-old secures a high-interest loan to start a bakery in Palo Alto; her warm cookies soon win over millions; still the company spokesperson at 61.

Steve Jobs

Co-Founder, Apple
At 27, member of 1982 Forbes 400 is worth $100 million; introduces Mac in 1984; fired in 1985. Founds NeXT, Pixar. Comes back with a vengeance: iPod, iPhone, iPad.

Jonathan Coon

Co-Founder, 1-800-CONTACTS
Frustrated by high costs and waits at eye docs, BYU grad teams with optician in 1995 to sell lenses directly to consumers; at 28 took company public; financed Napoleon Dynamite.

Mark Zuckerberg

Co-Founder, Facebook
Nineteen-year-old Harvard sophomore hacks together social networking site in 2004. Hypergrowth: Company worth $15 billion by 2007; now 2 billion active users; Zuck is world’s fifth-richest person.

Patrick and John Collison

Co-Founders, Stripe
At 29 and 27, the Irish-born, California-residing brothers are among world’s youngest self-made billionaires thanks to their entrepreneur-friendly internet payment processor Stripe, which they started in 2011.

(This story appears in the 10 November, 2017 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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