Harvard University is one of the most prestigious and well-known schools in the world.
Not surprisingly, Harvard has produced some of today’s most successful tech entrepreneurs. From social media to smartphones, Harvard grads (and dropouts) are everywhere in today’s tech landscape.
We put together some of the top tech rock stars who went to Harvard, and the list is quite remarkable.
content=”Gates is the cofounder and former chairman of Microsoft.
He got into Harvard in 1973, and majored in applied mathematics, before deciding to drop out in 1975. That year, he started Microsoft with cofounder Paul Allen.
In 2007, he was able to earn an honorary degree from Harvard, when he delivered the school’s commencement speech.
Gates has been the richest man in the world for 15 out of the last 20 years according to Forbes. He has an estimated net worth of $US80.6 billion.”
content=”Graham is one of the most prominent computer programmers/tech investors in the world. He earned his master’s (1988) and doctorate (1990) in philosophy at Harvard.
In 1995, he founded Viaweb, the first software as a service company that allows you to build online stores, and sold it to Yahoo in 1998 for roughly $US49 million.
He went on to start Y Combinator in 2005, which has become one of the earliest and biggest startup incubators in the world. So far, Y Combinator has invested in more than 450 startups, including Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, and Justin.tv (which later became Twitch).”
caption=”YC founder Paul Graham and Ashton Kutcher”
content=”Hsieh is best known for his role as CEO of Zappos, the online shoe and clothing store.
After earning his computer science degree at Harvard, Hsieh got a job at Oracle. But only after five months, he quit his job and launched his own ad network startup called LinkExchange.
Hsieh had originally made an early investment in Zappos through his own investment firm, Venture Frogs. But two months after the investment, he became CEO of Zappos.
Amazon acquired Zappos in 2009 for $US1.2 billion.“
caption=”Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh”
content=”Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of Facebook.
He majored in computer science and philosophy at Harvard, before dropping out in 2004, the same year he launched Facebook.
Facebook is now the world’s largest social network with more than a billion monthly active users. Backed by his success, Zuckerberg was named the 2010 Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year.’
His current net worth is approximately $US33.5 billion, according to Forbes.“
caption=”Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks through Facebook headquarters prior to unveiling the company’s new location services feature called ‘Places’ at a news conference in Palo Alto, California August 18, 2010.”
content=”The former New York City mayor is perhaps best known for his business career.
After earning his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1966, Bloomberg went on to work at Salomon Brothers as an investment banker.
Seven years later, he founded his own company called Innovative Market Systems. That company was renamed Bloomberg L.P. in 1987.
Forbes estimates Bloomberg’s net worth to be slightly over $US32 billion, which makes him the 16th richest person in the world. He currently owns 88% of Bloomberg L.P.”
content=”Whitman is the current chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
In 1979, two years after finishing her MBA at Harvard, Whitman began her career as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble.
Since then, she’s had an illustrious career, taking positions at some of the largest companies like eBay, Disney, Bain, and Hasbro.
She was named HP’s CEO in 2011. Bloomberg named her the ‘Most Underachieving CEO’ in 2013.”
caption=”HP CEO Meg Whitman”
content=”Ballmer, who was just recently named the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, graduated from Harvard in 1977. He was Microsoft’s cofounder Bill Gates’ college roommate.
In 1980, while at Stanford’s business school, Gates recruited Ballmer to join Microsoft as its first business manager. In 2000, Ballmer became the CEO of Microsoft and remained in position until February 2014, when he retired.
In August 2014, Ballmer stepped down from the board of Microsoft.”
caption=”Los Angeles Clippers’ new owner Steve Ballmer is introduced at a fan event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California August 18, 2014.”
content=”O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, which is often called the best computer book publisher in the world.
He’s also one of the most influential thinkers in the internet and open software movements.
O’Reilly graduated from Harvard in 1975 with a B.A. in Classics. He’s also made some investments in startups, including Medium, Odeo, and delicious.”
caption=”O’Reilly Media CEO Tim O’Reilly”
content=”McNealy is one of the cofounders of Sun Microsystems, the giant tech company that was acquired by Oracle in 2010 for more than $US7 billion.
After getting his B.A. in economics at Harvard, McNealy went to Stanford’s business school. There, he met Vinod Khosla and later joined Bill Joy, and Andy Bechtolsheim to cofound Sun.
He served as Sun’s CEO for 22 years, before resigning in 2006. He is currently on the board of Wayin, a social media marketing company.”
content=”Sandberg is the current COO of Facebook. She served as the VP of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google prior to that.
She graduated from Harvard with an economics degree in 1991. In 1995, she finished her MBA at Harvard with highest distinction.
Sandberg’s first job out of business school was at consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. She was also Chief of Staff for the U.S. Treasury Department for five years under President Bill Clinton.”
caption=”Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg attends an interactive session organised by the ladies’ wing of industry lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in New Delhi July 2, 2014.”
content=”Perkins is one of the cofounders of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, the prominent venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.
He finished his MBA at Harvard in 1957, and was the first General Manager of HP’s computer divisions.
He’s served on the board of many tech companies, including HP, Compaq, and Genentech. As of 2012, his net worth was estimated to be around $US8 billion.”
content=”Hawkins is the founder of gaming companies Electronic Arts and The 3DO Company.
He graduated from Harvard in 1976, after convincing the school to let him have his own self-designed major called, ‘Strategy and Applied Game Theory.’
Before founding EA in 1982, Hawkins worked at Apple as a marketing director. EA currently has more than 9,000 employees and had more than $US3.7 billion in revenue last year.”
content=”Breyer is the founder/CEO of Breyer Capital and a partner at Accel Partners.
He went to Harvard Business School and finished his MBA degree in 1987.
As one of the very early investors in Facebook, Breyer made boatloads of cash for Accel Partners and himself when the social network went public in 2012. It owned 11% of Facebook in 2012, which was estimated to be worth over $US6 billion.
He now plays a less prominent role at Accel and is more focused on his own firm, Breyer Capital.”
caption=”Breyer Capital CEO Jim Breyer”
content=”Khan is the founder of Khan Academy, the nonprofit online education site.
Shortly after completing his MBA degree at Harvard in 2003, Khan found the inspiration to launch Khan Academy, when his tutoring videos on YouTube started going viral.
More than 10 million students take courses on Khan Academy now, with over 440 million videos saved in its archive. Khan is often called Bill Gates’ ‘favourite teacher.’“
caption=”Bill Gates and Salman Khan”
content=”Cook is the founder and chairman of Intuit, the financial/tax software company best known for products like Quicken and TurboTax.
He earned his MBA degree from Harvard Business School, and currently also serves on the board of Procter & Gamble and eBay.
As of 2013, his net worth was estimated to be around $US1.5 billion.“
caption=”Intuit founder Scott Cook”
title=”Jay Y. Lee”
content=”Often called the ‘Crown Prince of Samsung,’ Lee is the current COO of Samsung Electronics.
He’s the only son of Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, so he’s the leading candidate to take the top spot of Samsung Group once the older Lee decides to step down.
Lee has a Ph.D in business administration from Harvard. But he’s rarely seen in public so not much is known about him. Some say he lacks the charisma of his father, but others say his quiet personality disguises his ‘strong determination to get things done.‘
With a net worth in excess of $US5 billion, the 46-year-old Lee is the third richest man in South Korea.”
caption=”Samsung COO Jay Y. Lee”
content=”Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, is another Harvard Business School product.
Prior to joining Andreessen Horowitz, Dixon cofounded web security startup SiteAdvisor, and sold it to McAfee in 2006. He also cofounded another startup called Hunch, which was later sold to eBay in 2011.
Dixon has invested in many successful startups, including Foursquare, Skype, and Pinterest. His personal blog is one of the most-read blogs by a venture capitalist.”
caption=”Andreessen Horowitz General Partner Chris Dixon”
content=”Draper, founder partner of venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, graduated from Harvard’s MBA program in 1984.
He’s perhaps best known for being a founding investor in Hotmail, which is still regarded as one of the most viral products ever on the web. DFJ’s website says he’s the one who came up with the idea of ‘viral marketing.’
Draper is also responsible for launching ‘Six Californias,’ an initiative to divide the state of California into six smaller states.”
title=”Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp”
content=”Barna and Beauchamp met at Harvard Business School, and later launched Birchbox together in 2010.
Birchbox is one of the biggest subscription commerce services out there. It recently raised $US60 million at a valuation of $US485 million.
Its business model of mailing monthly beauty product boxes has attracted over 800,000 subscribers so far. It now has its own retail store in New York City as well.“
caption=”Birchbox founders Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp”
content=”Stoppelman is the founder and CEO of Yelp, the online review site launched in 2004.
Before founding Yelp, Stoppelman was an MBA student at Harvard Business School. But he dropped out after just one year to work on Yelp.
Yelp went public in 2012. Before it went public, Google tried to acquire it for more than half a billion dollars. Around that time, Apple’s Steve Jobs called Stoppelman to convince him not to sell out to Google.
Stoppelman was also VP of engineering at PayPal before going to Harvard, and is considered part of the ‘Paypal Mafia,‘ the group of tech entrepreneurs/engineers who cofounded Paypal.”
caption=”Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelman”
content=”Yu is co-owner and former president of the San Francisco 49ers. He completed his MBA at Harvard.
Before getting into the football business, Yu served as CFO of both YouTube and Facebook. He was also treasurer and senior VP of finance at Yahoo, and a partner at Khosla Ventures and Sequoia Capital.
Yu currently serves as special adviser and founding member of Foundation 8, one of the hottest new VC firms in Silicon Valley these days.“
caption=”San Francisco 49ers co-owner Gideon Yu”
content=”Pincus, another Harvard MBA alumni, is best-known for cofounding the online social gaming service Zynga.
Although Pincus stepped down from Zynga’s CEO position in 2013, and was relegated to the chairman role, there’s no question in his ability to run successful startups.
Some of the previous companies he’s founded include, Tribe.net, SupportSoft, and Freeloader. He’s also one of the early investors in Facebook, Twitter, and Napster.”
caption=”Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus”
title=”Neil deGrasse Tyson”
content=”Tyson is one of the most renowned astrophysicists in the world.
He’s perhaps best known for his role on the 2014 science documentary series, ‘Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.’ He currently serves as the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History.
Tyson graduated from Harvard with a degree in physics in 1980. He may not be a serial tech entrepreneur like the rest of the people on this list, but there’s no question about Tyson’s contribution to the science and tech world. He’s a leading thinker in the science space and has often joined conversations related to the tech world.“
caption=”Neil deGrasse Tyson”
title=”Now that you’ve seen Harvard’s tech rock stars …”
caption=”MIT’s Great Dome”