A lot of people are familiar with the story of NBA star Michael Jordan getting rejected from his high school varsity basketball team. A similar thing happened to Drew Houston, the founder of $US10 billion Dropbox, in Silicon Valley.
Drew Houston attended MIT and wanted to get into one of the most prestigious startup accelerator programs in the world, Y Combinator, in 2005. He eventually got in with the idea for Dropbox in 2007. But two sessions before that, he applied and was rejected. The reason he was rejected was because the company he wanted to start wasn’t very good.
Sam Altman, who now runs Y Combinator in place of the accelerator’s co-founder, Paul Graham, told the story of Houston’s rejection on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York this morning.
According to Altman, Houston applied with an SAT prep startup idea. His rejection letter noted that Houston seemed really smart, but “there has got to be something better you can build than an SAT prep company.”
Houston spent the next few years thinking of harder problems to solve and came up with a file storage company in the cloud which could get rid of thumb drives altogether.
Here’s the Y Combinator application he submitted in 2007 that finally got him in the door. Now his company is worth $US10 billion and it’s one of the two most valuable startups YC has ever had in its program, along with Airbnb. At age 30, Houston is one of Silicon Valley’s youngest — and newest — billionaires, according to Forbes.
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.