We’ve all been subject to the breathless lore of startup lions likeSteve Jobs, Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk—pioneers who’ve repeatedly made high-profile impacts with innovative companies. The termserial entrepreneur meanwhile, when used to describe oneself, has morphed into an abused and meaningless moniker. The names above easily fit the bill, but we don’t always know them as such. That’s because they have—or had—real titles and real jobs: CEO, Executive Chairman, CTO.
Serial entrepreneur then has become a haughty, hazy stand-in for an actual occupation. How about “three-time entrepreneur”? Or just, “entrepreneur”? (The folks at AirBnB, however, who sold election-themed cereal boxes in 2008, can rightfully claim to be “cereal entrepreneurs”.)
The ten people on this list easily fit into the serial entrepreneur bucket, but because they’ve been busy building successful businesses, you may not have seen the term emblazoned on their Twitter bios. Most have made quite a bit of money for themselves; the majority, in fact, are billionaires. But these are names that don’t ring with the general public and their mugs don’t smile from the covers of glossy magazines (Forbes included). Even if you follow the world of business closely, I suspect there are a couple characters in here that will have you scratching your head.
Like Omar Hamoui, for example. The 35 year-old Wharton MBA dropout started four mostly overlooked companies before finally hitting headlines with the sale of mobile advertising network Admob to Google in 2009. The $750 million price tag made Hamoui a rich man, but that doesn’t mean his profile has risen in tandem with his net worth. Hamoui’s total number of Twitter followers: 2,587.
Some entrepreneurs on the list owe their relative obscurity to a foreign address. Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, from Sweden and Denmark respectively, started a slew of high-profile tech companies including Skype, Kazaa, Rdio and Vdio. Though household names in their countries of origin, the two tycoons don’t elicit much recognition here in the U.S.
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