Jennifer Richardson, Business Contributor
Millennials, born between 1982 and early 2004, often get a bad reputation. We are typically described as lazy, arrogant and entitled. In fact, many business leaders believe millennials need special treatment as reported in an article by the Daily Mail that was published this January.
However, there are many more articles that question whether or not millennials really are lazy and / or entitled. For example, if you type in “millennial entrepreneur” in Google, the search will reveal positive results. Results indicate that millennials are collaborative, tech savvy, and we’re motivated by purpose rather than money.
Despite our elder’s many grievances, millennials have created new ways to expand and launch successful businesses more than previous generations. Without millennials, some businesses would not have survived financial downturns, some businesses might not have adapted to the use of technology, and simply would not have expanded as they have. Thousands of businesses across the world use Facebook as a way to communicate with consumers and showcase special promotions. Mark Zuckerberg is by definition a millennial, but he’s also an entrepreneur providing a platform for other entrepreneurs.
Millennial entrepreneurs have created their own little niche in the business world. Millennial entrepreneurs have their own definition and are defined by Entrepreneur as having unique traits, such as being motivated by purpose opposed to monetary gains and possessing a deeper understanding of how technology can help their business grow.
Below I have created a list of 10 millennial entrepreneurs. I will be introducing you to them in the hopes that you will see their dedication and perseverance to their products and consumers as a trait unique to our generation. Many of these entrepreneurs strived to create a product or idea that would solve their personal problem, and in the process found that their product or idea benefited the world around them. The millennial generation is not what older generations perceive us to be. Millennials are hard working individuals. Millennial entrepreneurs are individuals that have a special spark that allows them to find unique ways to solve problems.
Here is a list of 10 influential millennial entrepreneurs:
1. Jake Nickell founder of Threadless.
Jake Nickell founded Threadless with Jacob DeHart in 2000. Threadless fully supports the artist community and strives to make great products, while endorsing artists by helping them go from the struggling-unknown type to known. Threadless allows consumers to upload their t-shirt ideas, and the consumer picks what they sell. This means that the Threadless team members and consumers are working together to create a unique product.
“We wanted to give artists an outlet to make the things that they were creating on their computers real.”
– Jake Nickell
2. John Zimmer founder of Lyft.
I’ve included John Zimmer on this list because his idea for Lyft differs from Uber’s. Uber’s story stems from the self-absorbed desire to get a ride in style by pressing a single button. However, Lyft’s story is about creating a world that is meant for people and not for cars. Entrepreneur has cited Lyft as stating that autonomous cars will be the future and that cars will be “rooms on wheels.” Lyft is thinking about the needs of people as opposed to thinking about the needs of a city with more cars than it can handle. Lyft has started a conversation that speaks about the future of transportation, and in doing so has created the potential car of the future.
“In technology, we spend so much time in designing pixels in a screen, but we as a society don’t spend enough time designing the spaces that we live in or the cities that we live in. And our cities have been designed for the car, and mostly for the parked car.” – John Zimmer
3. Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp founders of Pinterest.
Pinterest is unique in that it is a social media platform where users save or “pin” things that interests them to boards that they can categorize to fit their needs. These “pins” can be saved and viewed later either by the user or by the users’ followers. However, Evan Sharp shares that Pinterest is not supposed to be viewed as social media platform, and that Pinterest is about planning for your future.
One of the founders Ben Silbermann studied Medicine and Political Science at Yale, which shows the adaptability of the millennial generation. Before Pinterest Paul Sciarra worked on a shopping app called Tote with Ben Silbermann, but Sciarra has left Pinterest to pursue other ambitions.
“That means that over time we’re always trying to make it feel like a startup of many startups, rather than this monolithic organization.” – Ben Silbermann
4. Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia founders of Airbnb.
When it launched, Airbnb created a massive stir as it flipped the hotel industry on its head. Legal battles ensued and private property laws were challenged. Brian Chesky and his co-founder Joe Gebbia started their company on accident. They were struggling to make rent for their San Franciscan apartment, so they rented out their apartment. By trying to solve their rent problem, they ended up creating a multi-billion dollar company. So I guess they’re not struggling to pay rent anymore.
“When you start a company, it's more an art than a science because it's totally unknown. Instead of solving high-profile problems, try to solve something that's deeply personal to you. Ideally, if you're an ordinary person and you've just solved your problem, you might have solved the problem for millions of people.”
– Brian Chesky
5. Jessica Alba founder of The Honest Company
Her company is worth $1.7 billion dollars. The purpose behind The Honest Company was to create eco-friendly goods that are supposed to be safer for families with young children. Jessica Alba spent a lot of her childhood in the hospital because a lot of common household products affected her health. Jessica was allergic to many of the ingredients found in the products. When Jessica became pregnant she had an allergic reaction to a laundry detergent and that sparked the creation of her company. She created the company as a way to give children a chance to experience a childhood without hospital walls. Jessica states in the video by Forbes that people should have access to non-toxic products. She also explains that spending her childhood in the hospital inspired her to take on superhero roles in movies, because she wanted to fight to be healthy.
"With a movie...it's not like your whole life is hanging on this thing. With a business, your whole life is hanging on this thing--people have to love it." – Jessica Alba
6. David Karp founder of Tumbler.
David founded Tumbler in 2007. He was a high-school dropout that taught himself how to code at age 11. The purpose behind Tumbler was simple. David wanted to create a social networking blogging platform that was easy to use. Tumbler earns money by publishing sponsored ads or apps. There is also a section where designers can purchase and sell blog themes.
“We mostly use e-mail to communicate. I love e-mail, because it doesn't interrupt anyone. The fewer distractions, the better.” – David Karp
7. Blake Ross co-founder of Mozilla Firefox.
I’ve included Blake Ross in this list because Mozilla always seems to be in the background. It’s founder, Blake Ross, is a millennial even if it seems like Mozilla has been around since the dawn of time. Mozilla is a different type of internet browser in that it is tailored to millennials and the younger generations that have a natural affinity for technology. Mozilla Firefox has a variety of additional add-ons that Internet Explorer or Safari does not offer. These add-ons include themes to decorate the browser's layout or change the way a certain webpage is viewed, and some of these add-ons are specifically built for people who can code.
“The next big thing is the one that makes the last big thing usable.” – Blake Ross
8. Michelle Phan founder of Ipsy.
Michelle Phan created her company by first launching her brand through Youtube. She has almost nine million subscribers to her channel. Ipsy is a makeup subscription company, where individuals pay $10 a month to have a Glam Bag shipped to their house with products. She learned from her Youtube channel that people wanted a better makeup experience. Her internet based company has allowed her to adapt to her clientele’s ever-changing makeup needs.
“Entrepreneurs are creators at heart.” – Michelle Phan
9. Dakin Sloss founder of Tachyus.
Dakin Sloss founded Tachyus in an attempt to provide oil and gas companies with data that will allow companies to make better decisions. Tachyus is a company that uses technology to optimize energy production. Before Tachyus, Dakin Sloss attended Stanford and majored in mathematics. He co-founded OpenGov and California Common Sense - both are data collecting sites that hold governments accountable and act as government watchdogs.
“Part of what’s fun about building a company is bringing together people that have a shared thesis or shared world view. There are obviously lots of differences, but creating an environment in which those people thrive and can collaborate together, it’s a new type of community basically.” – Dakin Sloss
10. Nidhi Kapur founder of Maiden Home.
Nidhi Kapur founded her company by researching furniture that she was going to purchase with her husband. However, they could not find furniture other than the bland, generic, cookie cutter shapes that many brands offered. Her goal then was to create a luxury brand without a designer price tag. This lead to the creation of Maiden Home.
“A lot of craftsmen only sell to brick-and-mortar boutiques, and there are too many middlemen involved, but they don’t know how to access the online market. I felt like this could be a perfect marriage and a win-win-win for us, them, and the consumer.” – Nidhi Kapur
Millennials have been called lazy and entitled, but many of us are not these things. There are a lot millennials who are hardworking individuals that use the advantages that our generation has in order change the corporate work environment in a way that better suits our needs and abilities.
Each one of the 10 entrepreneurs mentioned above started their respective businesses with a purpose in mind for their brand. Most millennials do not create businesses for the purpose of gaining money. As stated early on, this idea of purpose is a trait specific to millennials, and it seems to be a trait that is working for us, as well as for older businesses that employee millennials for technological help.
The Millennial Review started with a purpose - a purpose to bring awareness to other millennials about conservative values.
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