Starting your own web hosting business can be a pretty sweet, lucrative endeavor—if you have management skills that match your tech skills. For many successful entrepreneurs, they started as web hosts, either managing servers for someone else or as a boutique web hosting company owner. Web hosting is a great springboard to success, or it can be the ultimate career in itself.
Check out these professionals who knew what people wanted in a web host, and took their background to move them forward. It’s that special mix of tech savviness, entrepreneurial drive and customer service that puts them into a league of their own.
- Robert Parsons
You might know him as the founder of GoDaddy, but this guru also has a strong military background and now considers himself a venture capitalist. Yes, it was Go Daddy that shot him to fame, but as the founder of YAM Worldwide, he’s all about helping other entrepreneurs succeed with a special focus on recreation, real estate, sports and marketing. Parsons has several billion dollars, but it was starting out with web hosting that got him on the fast track.
- Andrew Michael
As a teen, Michael started his own web hosting company and it made him his first million. He’s proof that you don’t need a slew of dedicated servers (that cost several thousand dollars) in order to succeed. Fast Hosts, Michael’s company, is one of the go-to choices for hosting in the UK and now he’s worth more than $100 million. Since then, he’s branched off into other tech endeavors, too.
- Chris Pinkham
Pinkham started at Amazon and was the co-author of a paper that was the catalyst for Amazon Web Services. Holding a number of titles at the company including VP of IT Infrastructure, he’s a big force behind the Elastic Computer Cloud, but went off on his own in 2006. Founding Nimbula, he then sold this cloud startup to Oracle, but has always said web services was where he honed his skills.
- Richard Yoo
The Rackspace co-founder is also the solo founder of ServerBench, a popular server hosting platform. Now, Yoo’s an Inventables advisor and also serves as an I/O Ventures mentor. He’s all about helping the next fantastic startup succeed, and has been especially interested in Perceptual Networks recently.
Starting as a web host is a great way to network, learn the ropes and figure out exactly what it is people want with a tech service provider. This doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to make millions or even be a successful entrepreneur. However, it’s great motivation for those who are starting from the bottom in server maintenance with dreams of going all the way.
If these former web hosts can do it, that means the sky’s the limit. However, it requires plenty of ambition and the ability to know when to make a clean break.