These Stanford Students Made Millions Taking A Class About Facebook

dodgeballAndrew Gadson (left), Rahul Thathoo (centre) and Brett Keintz (right) created the Facebook app, Dodgeball.

Photo: Stanford

In 2007, Stanford professor B.J. Fogg encouraged his class to create Facebook apps for homework assignments. The resulting 31 apps became bigger successes than anyone could have predicted.

Together, the class of 75 students created applications that were used by 16 million people.  Some of the students made so much money that they dropped out of school.  Others went on to create Facebook-based businesses, and sold them for millions of dollars.

The class’ creations received so much buzz that 500 people, including many venture capitalists, attended the final presentations.

The New York Times had a great feature on the class this past weekend (go read it!), and we found Stanford professor B.J. Fogg’s blog from 2007.  We pulled together a list of the semester’s best apps, and learned what became of the students who created them.

Joachim De Lombaert, Alex Onsager and Ed Baker's app generated $3,000 per day in ad dollars during the semester.

The app: Send Hotness. Users send points to attractive friends and compare their own 'hotness' rankings.

The results: Send Hotness raked in $3,000 per day. The trio sold their app, which had 5 million users, for 6-figures.

What they do now: De Lombaert and Baker now run social network site Onsager is working in Japan for Happy Elements.

During the semester, Dan Greenberg and Rob Fan's app (now called Sharethrough) made $100,000 per month.

The app: Sharethrough. The app initially allowed users to send virtual hugs. It then expanded to kisses, pillow fights, and 67 other digital interactions.

The results: During the term, Greenberg and Fan's app made $100,000 per month in advertising revenue.

What they do now: Greenberg is CEO of the company, which is now called Sharethrough. Sharethrough has raised $6 million in venture capital and has employed many of the Stanford Facebook classmates.

Johnny Hwin's class app wasn't very successful, but he later sold a Facebook marketing tool for millions of dollars.

The app: LOVECHILD. Created by Johnny Hwin, Randal Truong and one other student, users create and raise digital children.

The results: It wasn't successful, but Hwin's next project two years later,, was.

What they do now: Hwin sold, a Facebook marketing tool that unites musicians and fans online, to FanBridge for a few million dollars.

Chris Mocko, Eduardo Abeliuk and Joel Darnauer's app was a top 100 Facebook App within weeks of its launch

The app: KissMe. Users share affection with friends by sending virtual kisses.

The results: The app had over 2 million users within the first two months. It was the first of the class' apps to reach top 100 Facebook app status.

What they do now: Mocko is a product manager at Intuit and Abeliuk is at Stanford going for his PhD.

Andrew Gadson, Rahul Thathoo and Brett Keintz created the biggest game of Dodgeball ever with 10,000 users in the first two weeks.

The app: Dodgeball. A digital version of the recess game Dodgeball. Users throw different types of balls at friends.

The results: The app was a moderate success; it gained 10,000 users in its first two weeks.

What they do now: Gadson is a staff engineer at a startup, Thathoo is a software engineer at Blippy, and Keintz was CEO/co-founder of Sharethrough and is currently Director of Social at Groupon.

Dave Koslow, Jennifer Gee and Jason Prado created a polls app and got 6,000 users in 2.5 days

The app: Polls. Facebook users install ready-to-go polls on profile pages.

The results: Once the students began advertising on RockYou's ad network, they grew to 6,000 users in 2.5 days.

What they do now: Koslow is platform lead at Greystripe, Gee is Senior Product Manager at RockYou, and Prado sold a company to Google and currently works there as a software engineer.

Matt Monahan, Shrikrishna Shrin and Shashank Senapaty's apps had 850,000 users within four weeks

The app: SHARE THE LOVE. A 'real utility for loving people on Facebook;' users share virtual actions like hugs and kisses with friends.

The results: SHARE THE LOVE was the second, more successful app Monahan, Shrin and Senapaty created. They called both apps F8Concepts; F8Concepts reached 850,000 users within four weeks.

What they do now: Monahan was cofounder and CCO of Sharethrough and is working in social advertising in New York City. Shrin worked at Cooliris and has since founded a company. Shashank is a software engineer at Google.

Robert Cezar Matei's app was moderately successful, but a few tries later he created one of the most popular apps in Europe which was bought by Zynga.

The app: PickMeUp. Created by Matei and AJ Olson, users send cheesy pick-up lines to friends.

The results: Matei tells The New York Times that PickMeUp was a 'moderate success.' His real success, a virtual kiss application translated in multiple languages, came a few tries later. It became one of the most popular apps in Europe and was eventually bought by Zynga for an undisclosed amount.

What they do now: Matei is now a systems engineer at Zynga. Olson worked at Meebo.

Facebook has made a lot of people rich. Check out:

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