Graduation is considered as a revolutionary part of student’s life journey. You are likely to earn remarkably more if you go to a reputed college and earn your bachelor’s degree, or make it even further, according to government statistics. But for the wealthiest of the wealthy people, the normal rules don’t seem to apply.
It may be due to inherent ambition and skill or sheer luck, several extremely wealthy leaders like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or Richard Branson made it to where they are, without the traditional educational credentials. Research firm Wealth-X found in 2016 that nearly a third of the world’s billionaires didn’t have a bachelor’s degree. In India also, there are many successful people in the business, including college dropouts and those who haven’t been to college at all.
Here are 5 insanely successful people that you may not realize never went to college, or abandoned higher education once they got there.
Ritesh Agarwal, the Founder and present CEO of OYO Rooms & Homes
Ritesh Agarwal is among the most successful entrepreneurs in the country who founded OYO Rooms & Homes. He dropped out of college during the initial years and decided to follow his dreams. In 2012, Agarwal founded Oravel Stays Private Limited, the Gurugram-based parent company of OYO Hotels & Homes, a technology-enabled hotel chain, when he was just 18. OYO is one of the country’s most popular unicorns—or rather decacorns (startups with $10 billion in private market valuation). According to Ritesh, the credit for the success of his startup should go to the business model and not the quantum of funds raised. The core competency of OYO is 3-fold:
Able to decide on acquiring real estate in real-time—much quicker than others, share an offer with asset owners quickly.
Renovate their assets quickly using data science, for example, knowing what interior design can give the best increase in revenue.
Operate the assets efficiently, leveraging 14 Oyo institutes in India—90% of the revenue is repeat business or through word of mouth.
Kailash Katkar, the Founder and present CEO of Quick Heal Technologies
Kailash Katkar founded Quick Heal Technologies, which is one of the leading virus protection/computer security solutions providers. Katkar, who does not even have any formal education, started with a job at a small repair shop opened a one-room electrical device repair station -CAT Computer Services- in 1991. In 1993, he, along with his brother, started Quick Heal Technologies in Pune. He believed that his ‘never give up’ attitude had always helped him to survive. The emergence of deadly viruses that could infect computers and other portable systems having internet accessibility boosted his entrepreneurial spirit. It was the very instant when he decided to come up with an anti-virus solution. Thus, the master project of Kailash Katkar i.e. Quick Heal was born.
Azhar Iqubal, the co-founder and present CEO of Inshorts
Azhar Iqubal, the founding member and CEO of Inshorts, is also among this list of a successful entrepreneur who does not hold a graduation degree. He dropped out in the final year of his graduation at IIT-Delhi and went on to start Inshorts, the pioneer of short-form news content in the country. He founded the Inshorts with two of his friends, also dropouts from IIT-Delhi, in 2013. The trio had noticed that the youth in India was increasingly getting disconnected with the idea of reading news every day. Being youngsters, they could relate and understood that the long-form nature of news items made it difficult for most youth to keep abreast of all the latest national and global happenings.
Ankit Oberoi, the co-founder, and CEO of AdPushup
Ankit Oberoi is one of the founding member and CEO of AdPushup, a revenue optimization platform for publishers and bloggers that helps in increasing their ad revenue. He dropped out of Maharaja Agrasen College of the Delhi University in the first semester itself and thus could not complete graduation. He felt that one doesn’t need to be at college to learn something in this Internet era. He went on to build AdPushup, an AdTech product, that helps optimize online ad revenues by using advanced automated A/B Testing (a proprietary multi-arm bandit algorithm). Numerous publishers are looking at increasing returns via ads. With AdPushup, publishers can get a chance to A/B test various versions of an ad unit and see which ones give them better returns.
Varun Shoor, founder and former CEO of Kayako
In 2001, Varun Shoor founded the company when he was 17 years in Jalandhar (now relocated to London) after dropping out of college. He, however, exited the company in 2018. Varun read about an organization that sold a customer support software for $2,000. He gained more understanding about that specific product and realized that it was something he could build in his sleep. He was successful in building a similar software. But the problem was hosting a website where he could market his products as he had no funds. After numerous failed efforts, a Japanese chat friend offered Varun Shoor a domain name- Kayako.com- that was to expire in 3 months. He also got a friend on board who offered to host Kayako.com for free. Varun made his first trade, in November 2001, to a Canadian customer for $50 and by the end of that month, another customer approached Shoor to purchase a copy of his product for $300!
Varun Shoor progressed further to capture some of the biggest names in the international market. Kayako now has clients like MTV, NASA, Pearson, SEGA, ICANN, and the University of Illinois, etc. Presently, Kayako has spread its branches in 6 countries, with a strength of over 150 employees.