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We all need inspiration to move ahead through thick and thin especially the wannabe entrepreneurs who have to face some of the craziest challenges to succeed. And when this inspiration comes from people whom we better know for their technological innovations that changed the way we live, the effect is profound. Below is a list of some inspirational real-life rags-to-riches stories of technopreneurs that would make you rethink about life!

Jan Koum / WhatsApp Co-founder

Jan Koum (WhatsApp)

Jan Koum, co-founder of one of the most viral messaging app – WhatsApp, had to overcome many hardships to succeed in life. He was born in Keiv but eventually migrated to US with his mother. To make ends meet, once he had to do menial jobs like mopping and sweeping in a grocery store! In his early teens, he lost his father and mother. Joining Ernst & Young and meeting Brian Acton at Yahoo (other WhatsApp co-founder), was the beginning of an illustrious venture. (Surprisingly, they both got rejected from Facebook in the year 2009) Incidentally, Koum purchased an iPhone and over the course of time with the help of Acton, devised an interoperable easy-to-use mobile app which helps us exchange IMs effortlessly. On February 2014, with a staggering user base of over 400 million, the app was acquired by Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook for a record deal of $22 billion! What a remarkable path to success!

Jack Ma / Alibaba Founder

Jack Ma (Alibaba)

China’s richest man and Alibaba’s CEO, Jack Ma has a spectacular rags-to-riches story. Ma, who earned the nickname ‘Crazy Jack Ma’ for his weird ideas, had been rejected in the past by KFC and many other employers in his hometown of Hangzhou. But today when he attends the annual meetings wearing even lipstick and wild wigs, people salute him. An inspiration to millions of people in China, Ma has his net worth as $21.9 billion, as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. At the tender age of 12 while working as a part-time tourist guide, Ma woke up early in the morning to reach Hangzhou’s main hotel for practicing English with foreign tourists. While acting as a free guide he made friends with many. After failing the national college entrance exams twice, he entered a college, described as the worst college by him. After his graduation and his marriage to his college sweetheart, he taught English at a local college earning $15 a month. Then he set up a translation company. But once he set up Alibaba, a business-to-business online platform, there was no looking back!

Steve Jobs / Apple Co-founder

Steve Jobs (Apple Inc.)

The success story of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computer Corporation, one of forefathers of the internet, is truly legendary. Born to two university students, the unexpected baby Steven Jobs was given up for adoption. Later he was adopted by Paul who encouraged him to experiment with electronics in their garage and this sowed the seeds of Steve’s lifelong interest in electronics. Although his test results were excellent, Steve had to struggle with formal education since he was handful to teach. He was fascinated by the calligraphy course at Reed College which he believed had been instrumental in the multiple typefaces and proportionally spaced fonts found in Apple. On April 1, 1976 Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started a company in a garage, naming it Apple, after the fond memories of a summer in Oregon that Steve had spent as an orchard worker. After selling their most expensive belongings, the duo debuted Apple I. The second product called Apple II became the best selling computer in the 1970s and early 1980s. As on November 2014, Apple Inc. is worth a staggering $2 billion dollar company having more than 80,000 employees worldwide! Over the years it has created a unique identity amongst the gadget freaks with its wide range of desktop, mobile or wearing tech products.

Image credits:
1. Photostream / Flickr
2. World Economic Forum at en.wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons
3. Matthew Yohe at en.wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons

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