Famous American Entrepreneurs

Ask an entrepreneur who had the guts to cast off corporate shackles and kick start his own business, and he will tell you that it is the most fulfilling and perhaps the most nerve-racking thing that he has ever tried. For those with entrepreneurial minds, nothing beats the sense of freedom that comes with breaking away from the routine job and becoming one's own boss. But such freedom always comes with a price. Nearly all accomplished entrepreneurs will amuse you with long, inspiring stories long nights, lean times and near-catastrophes. Becoming an entrepreneur warrants diving in all the way, because you cannot just waddle into it half-heartedly and do well. Entrepreneurial success is not always about business as much as it is about one's ability to innovate and create value. America, the land of opportunities, where hard work and intelligence never goes in vain, has borne scores of entrepreneurial heroes, who have contributed heavily in the wealth building of the country. Explore all about the timeline, trivia, and interesting facts about American entrepreneurs in their biographies here.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs
26
Famous As: Co-founder of Apple
Birthdate: February 24, 1955
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: October 5, 2011
A college dropout, Steve Jobs, went on to be regarded as the Father of the Digital World. The founder/co-founder of Apple Inc, Pixar Animation Studios and NeXT Inc was a passionate visionary who was responsible for the development of iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPad and the iPhone which ushered in a new era in the computer, music and film industries.

 2 Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos
11
Famous As: Founder of Amazon.com
Birthdate: January 12, 1964
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

The founder and CEO of the multi-national technology company Amazon, Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest man in the world. Jeff, who left his lucrative job at an investment firm to fulfil his entrepreneurial ambition, also owns the newspaper, The Washington Post, and its affiliate publications along with a spaceflight company, Blue Origin.

 3 Bill Gates

Bill Gates
24
Famous As: Co-Founder of Microssoft
Birthdate: October 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

Leading American technologist, business leader and philanthropist, Bill Gates is the co-founder of the world’s largest software company, Microsoft. His passion for computers made him one of the richest in the world and through his charity foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he and his wife use this money generously to help people world over live a better life.

 4 Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg
29
Famous As: Founder of Facebook
Birthdate: May 14, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

The co-founder and CEO of the popular social networking website, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is also amongst the richest men in the world. Fascinated by computer since his early life, Zuckerberg co-created TheFacebook while still in college and later even dropped out to devote more time to it. At 23, he became the youngest self-made billionaire in history at that time.

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 5 Walt Disney

Walt Disney
6
Birthdate: December 5, 1901
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: December 15, 1966

Walt Disney is considered to be the forerunner of the American animation industry. He has won 22 Oscars and holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual as a film producer. His The Walt Disney Company‍ has produced many successful animation films. He later established amusement theme park, Disneyland, in 1955, which has since grown manifold.

 6 Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett
2
Famous As: Business Magnate, Investor, Philanthropist
Birthdate: August 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

American investor, business tycoon and philanthropist Warren Buffett is considered one of the most successful investors in the world by the media. The chairman and largest shareholder of the firm, Berkshire Hathaway, he is often called as the ‘Oracle’ or ‘Sage’ of Omaha. Notably, he has pledged to give away a sizable portion of his wealth to philanthropic causes.

 7 P. T. Barnum

P. T.  Barnum
0
Famous As: American politician
Birthdate: July 5, 1810
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: April 7, 1891

P. T. Barnum was an American politician, showman, and businessman. He is credited with founding the famous Barnum & Bailey Circus, which ran for 146 years. He is also credited with co-founding the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, which is one of the oldest American ferry companies. His life and work have inspired many films, including The Greatest Showman.

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 8 Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes
0
Famous As: Entrepreneur, Investor
Birthdate: December 24, 1905
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: April 5, 1976

A multi-talented personality, Howard Hughes was one of the richest person of his time. A business tycoon, he made big investments in films and aviation industry. Passionate about flying, he set numerous flying records, and also risked his own life in process. Howard Hughes who inherited his family business and became millionaire at the age of 18, was later on troubled with mental illness and turned recluse.

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 9 Henry Ford

Henry Ford
7
Famous As: Industrialist
Birthdate: July 30, 1863
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: April 7, 1947

Business magnate and founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford is credited to have made the automobile an accessible conveyance for Americans in the 20th century. Following the success of his company, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He also became known for his pacifism during the first years of World War I.

 10 Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak
0
Famous As: Co-founder of Apple Computer (Apple Inc.)
Birthdate: August 11, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Widely recognized as one of the two important pioneers of the personal computer revolution, Steve Wozniak is credited with co-founding Apple Inc. along with Steve Jobs. Not surprisingly, he has been described as one of the men that changed the course of history through technology. Apart from being a programmer and technology entrepreneur, Steve Wozniak is also a well-known philanthropist.

 11 Colonel Sanders

Colonel Sanders
0
Famous As: Founder of KFC
Birthdate: September 9, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: December 16, 1980

Colonel Sanders is the man who revolutionized the American fast food industry by founding the restaurant chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). Establishing a style trademark by wearing a white suit and black string tie, Sanders went on to become a symbol of the KFC brand. Such is the popularity of the brand, the symbol is recognized all over the world.

 12 Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos
0
Famous As: United States Secretary of Education
Birthdate: January 8, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

Betsy DeVos, the current United States Secretary of Education, is famous for her support for school voucher programs, school choice, and charter schools. Also known for her philanthropy and activism, Betsy DeVos launched the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation in 1989. The foundation donates to hospitals, arts organizations, health research, Christian schools, etc.

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 13 Madam C. J. Walker

Madam C. J. Walker
2
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: December 23, 1867
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: May 25, 1919
Madam C.J. Walker is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first female self-made American millionaire. She manufactured and promoted a cosmetic-and-hair-care line catering to black women, through the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. She was also the richest African-American businesswoman when she died.

 14 Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc
4
Famous As: Founder of the McDonald’s Corporation
Birthdate: October 5, 1902
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: January 14, 1984

Ray Kroc was the man who helped expand McDonald's into a global franchise, eventually turning it into the most successful fast food corporation. Not surprisingly, he was mentioned in Time magazine's Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century list. He was also the owner of the popular baseball team San Diego Padres.

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 15 Joy Mangano

Joy Mangano
0
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: February 1, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 16 Robert Shapiro

Robert Shapiro
0
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: September 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 17 Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri
0
Famous As: Restaurateur, Cookbook Author
Birthdate: January 22, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

Primarily a restaurateur, Guy Fieri is a testimony to the fact that any professional can become famous if they are passionate enough in doing what they do best. From being a restaurateur, he went on to become a TV personality, hosting shows for Food Network channel. By mid-2010, he had become the face of the network.

 18 Martin Shkreli

Martin Shkreli
0
Famous As: Executive
Birthdate: March 17, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Martin Shkreli, founder and former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, received a 7-year prison sentence for securities fraud after he secured the manufacturing license for Daraprim and raised its price from $13.50 to $750 per pill. He had bought the only copy of the album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

 19 John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller
2
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: July 8, 1839
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 23, 1937

Widely regarded as the richest person in modern history and the wealthiest American ever, John D. Rockefeller was a business magnate who founded the Standard Oil Company. He was America’s first billionaire. He also defined the structure of modern philanthropy as the foundations created by him had a major effect on scientific research, medicine, and education.

 20 Christie Brinkley

Christie Brinkley
0
Famous As: Model, Actress, Businesswoman
Birthdate: February 2, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

Christie Brinkley is an American actress, model, and entrepreneur. Widely regarded as one of the most attractive women ever, Brinkley has been featured on more than 500 magazine covers and was the face of CoverGirl for 25 years! Apart from being an inspiration to aspiring models worldwide, Christie Brinkley has also touched the lives of many through her philanthropic activities.

 21 Tim Cook

Tim Cook
0
Famous As: Chief Executive Officer of Apple
Birthdate: November 1, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Since taking over as the CEO of Apple, Inc. in 2011, till 2020, Tim Cook has, through his dedication, doubled its profits. He was the first Fortune 500 CEO to “come out” as gay, in 2014. A devoted philanthropist, Tim intends to donate most of his stocks to charity.

 22 Khloé Kardashian

Khloé Kardashian
2
Famous As: Media personality
Birthdate: June 27, 1984
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

Best known for playing a key role in the popular TV series Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Khloé Kardashian is one of the most popular American celebrities on the internet. Having launched many clothing collections, she is also involved in the fashion industry. After suffering a traumatic brain injury, Khloé had a long-term memory loss but has recovered since.

 23 Kate Spade

Kate Spade
2
Famous As: Fashion designer
Birthdate: December 24, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: June 5, 2018

Kate Spade was an American entrepreneur and fashion designer. Spade is credited with founding Kate Spade New York, a popular luxury fashion design house, which competes with the likes of Michael Kors. Kate Spade is also credited with creating stylish and affordable handbags that caused quite a revolution in the fashion world.

 24 J. P. Morgan

J. P. Morgan
2
Famous As: Financier
Birthdate: April 17, 1837
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: March 31, 1913
J.P. Morgan was an iconic figure of the economic boom of the Gilded Age and established the investment banking firm J.P. Morgan & Co. He also controlled companies such as U.S. Steel, General Electric, and AT&T. He prevented the American economy from collapsing during the Panic of 1907.

 25 Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison
0
Famous As: Inventor, Businessman
Birthdate: February 11, 1847
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: October 18, 1931

Described as America’s greatest inventor, Thomas Edison’s legacy is an everlasting one. He was the first to help make the incandescent light bulb commercially viable, even though he was not the first inventor of it. Quadruplex telegraph, phonograph, motion picture camera and the alkaline storage battery are some the many innovations that made him a worldwide phenomenon and an icon.

 26 Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner
0
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: February 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

Chris Gardner is an American motivational speaker and businessman. After struggling with homelessness, Gardner went on to establish Gardner Rich & Co, a brokerage firm, in 1987. His rags to riches story inspired the film The Pursuit of Happyness. Also a well-known philanthropist, Gardner has been playing a major role in creating low-income housing and employment opportunities for the homeless.

 27 Dana White

Dana White
2
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: July 28, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

 28 Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison
0
Famous As: Founder of Oracle
Birthdate: August 17, 1944
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison was Forbes’s sixth-wealthiest person in the world in 2019. He has been associated with Apple and Tesla, too. He once owned the world’s 12th-largest yacht. He is a certified pilot and also owns a tennis facility. A devoted philanthropist, he has taken The Giving Pledge.

 29 Tom Steyer

Tom Steyer
0
Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: June 27, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

 30 Dany Garcia

Dany Garcia
0
Famous As: Producer
Birthdate: November 29, 1968
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

Dany Garcia, founder of The Garcia Companies, is an American media mogul. She offers various services and manages brands, talent and projects on multiple platforms. Her Seven Bucks Productions has produced several successful films like Baywatch, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Jumanji: The Next Level and Rampage. Many of them have been with her ex-husband and action hero Dwayne Johnson.

 31 Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay
0
Famous As: American chef
Birthdate: December 10, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is best known for his Food Network shows, such as the Emmy-nominated Hot Off the Grill with Bobby Flay. He launched many restaurants, such as the Las Vegas-based Mesa Grill and 19 outlets of Bobby's Burger Palace. He has also taught at the French Culinary Institute.

 32 Kate Walsh

Kate Walsh
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Kate Walsh is best known as Dr. Addison Montgomery from Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. Fans also loved her as Mrs. Baker from the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Kate is also known for her political activism. She has also launched a beauty and lifestyle brand named Boyfriend LLC.

 33 Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes
6
Famous As: Business Woman
Birthdate: February 3, 1984
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 34 Beyonce Knowles

Beyonce Knowles
0
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 4, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 35 Ted Turner

Ted Turner
0
Birthdate: November 19, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Ted Turner, nicknamed Captain Outrageous for his controversial statements, revolutionized the media sphere by founding CNN, the world's first 24-hour cable news channel. With WTBS, he established the idea of the superstation. A devoted philanthropist, he is remembered for creating the United Nations Foundation, Goodwill Games, and the NTI

 36 Bruce Jenner

Bruce Jenner
0
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: October 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

Bruce Jenner, who changed her name to Caitlyn Jenner after coming out as a trans woman in 2015, is an American TV personality and former decathlete. Jenner won a gold medal for the USA at the 1976 Olympics. Often referred to as the most popular transgender woman in the world, Jenner serves as an inspiration to the LGBTQ community.

 37 Susan Wojcicki

Susan Wojcicki
2
Famous As: CEO of YouTube
Birthdate: July 6, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has been the longest-tenured CEO of the organization. She has earlier contributed to the formation of Google and has served them as their VP of product management. The Harvard alumnus was ranked 16 on Forbes’s list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2011.

 38 David Rockefeller

David Rockefeller
2
Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: June 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: March 20, 2017
David Rockefeller, son of John D. Rockefeller Jr., was a banker who had also been the chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Corporation. He was the world’s oldest billionaire when he died in 2017 at age 101. He was criticized for his role in the Iran hostage crisis.

 39 Jerry Heller

Jerry Heller
0
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: October 6, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: September 2, 2016

Jerry Heller was a music manager and businessman best known for his management of West Coast rap and gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A and Eazy-E. A prominent figure in the 1960s and 1970s, he played a key role in the emergence of West Coast rap music. He was a controversial figure and was accused of financial impropriety, which he denied.

 40 Steven Mnuchin

Steven Mnuchin
0
Famous As: United States Secretary of the Treasury
Birthdate: December 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

Investment banker Steven Mnuchin, who has served as the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under Donald Trump, has earlier been associated with Goldman Sachs, Sears Holdings, and Kmart. He later purchased IndyMac, renamed it OneWest Bank, and sold it to CIT Group. Mnuchin was also part of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

 41 Adam Weitsman

Adam Weitsman
0
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: June 13, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 42 Paul Allen

Paul Allen
0
Famous As: Co-founder of Microsoft, Philanthropist
Birthdate: January 21, 1953
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: October 15, 2018

Paul Allen was an American investor, business magnate, and philanthropist. He is credited with co-founding one of the most popular multinational technology companies in the world, Microsoft Corporation. Along with his philanthropic activities and ownership of several other companies and sporting clubs, Paul Allen had a major impact on sports, wildlife, education, arts, healthcare, community services, environmental conservation, and more.

 43 Shane McMahon

Shane McMahon
0
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: January 15, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Entrepreneur and wrestler Shane McMahon is the son of WWE CEO Vince McMahon and wrestling performer and politician Linda McMahon. Shane heads Ideanomics as its vice-chairman and is a minority owner of WWE. He was previously the CEO of YOU On Demand. He has won several titles as a wrestler.

 44 Lori Greiner

Lori Greiner
0
Famous As: Television personality
Birthdate: December 9, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

 45 Evan Spiegel

Evan Spiegel
0
Famous As: Co-founder of Snapchat
Birthdate: June 4, 1990
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

Evan Spiegel is credited with popularizing social media all over the world as he co-founded the popular social media company Snap Inc. In 2015, he was named the youngest billionaire in the world. The following year, he was named in Forbes magazine's list of 400 Richest Americans with an estimated net worth of $4 billion.

 46 Chumlee Russell

Chumlee Russell
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 8, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

A businessman and reality TV personality, Chumlee Russell is best known for appearing in the History Channel show Pawn Stars. In the show, he is often portrayed as the comic foil. He emerged as the breakout cast member and didn’t take long to become a fan favorite. He has been involved in several legal issues.

 47 Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina
0
Famous As: Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard
Birthdate: September 6, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 48 Michael Burry

Michael Burry
2
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: June 19, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 49 Richard Benjamin Harrison

Richard Benjamin Harrison
0
Famous As: Businessman, TV Personality
Birthdate: March 4, 1941
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: June 25, 2018

Businessman Richard Benjamin Harrison became famous as a reality TV personality when he started appearing in the History Channel series Pawn Stars as the co-owner of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. His already successful business started thriving following the show’s success. He was nominated for the 2012 Time 100 list.

 50 Ross Perot

Ross Perot
0
Famous As: Independent U.S. Presidential Candidate
Birthdate: June 27, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: July 9, 2019

Ross Perot was the founder and CEO of Electronic Data Systems and Perot Systems. He received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and developed the Naval Academy’s honor system. He ran for president as an independent candidate and then established the Reform Party. He sold Perot to Dell for $3.9 billion.