Top 5 Start-ups That Began In Hostels That Are Now Worth Millions

To the average student, a hostel is a place to sleep, finish assignments or throw those random weekend parties. For some students, their hostels act as their start-ups’ first office.  Some of the world’s leading companies today began their operations in campus hostels. Here are their inspiring stories.


The story of Facebook began at Harvard University when in 2004; founders Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Chris Hughes and Dustin Moskovitz created a social network that was to be used by Harvard University students. Facebook quickly spread across other universities in the United States and eventually to the rest of the world.

Today Facebook is the most popular social media platform with 1.65 billion active users in a single month. It is currently valued at $250 billion.


Snapchat, originally known as “picaboo”, was founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown while students at Stanford University. Snapchat is a social application that allows users to share photos and videos with a wide range of exciting features. It is estimated that over 9 billion pictures and videos have been shared on this platform to date.

Snapchat gained traction among young people for several reasons. The idea of photos and videos after a day also found favor with the youth. This feature was conceived when a friend to Evan Spiegel regretted sending an embarrassing photo. Other features like Snapchat stories also made the platform more popular with individual and corporate users.


Reddit was founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005. The founders were roommates at the University of Virginia. Reddit is a social platform for rating web content, aggregating news and general discussions. In 2006, Reddit was acquired by another company Conde’ Nast Publications. Today Reddit is valued at $500 million.


You check your backpack and you realize that you have forgotten your flash disk which had important information for the class you are attending. This is how the idea about a file hosting service with a bigger capacity than your email address began. This is the story of Dropbox founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi who founded the company while students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007.

The idea was a hit across the tech world and the duo soon secured funding from Y Combinator. Last year Dropbox was ranked second on Forbes Cloud 100 which is Forbes Magazine’s list of the best cloud computing companies. Dropbox now boasts over 500 million users. The valuation of the file hosting company has been placed at $5 billion to $10 billion.


Yahoo stands for Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle. Long before Google became popular, Yahoo was the dominant search engine, email service provider and news provider on the internet. Like others on this list, it was founded by students. Jerry Yang and David Filo founded Yahoo while studying electrical engineering at Stanford University in 1994.

While Yahoo was the king of the internet in the late 90s, it lost its glory and is now on its knees thanks to new entrants on the market. Nevertheless, Yahoo represents an inspiring story of two students who rose from obscurity to create one of the world’s biggest tech company of their time.

While the above list is only comprised of tech start-ups, it does not imply that other types of industries cannot be started from the comfort of your hostel. It is also possible to build a successful business outside the realm of I.T from your hostel. No job will be waiting for you after your graduation ceremony so take the initiative and start a business in your campus with your little resources. You might not create the next Facebook or Snapchat but whatever you begin might change your life and that of the people around you.

This article was written by Capital Campus Contributor Collins Pasi.