Founders

45 Successful Company Founders

Wildly successful companies all appear to be the same. The founder starts something and boom! Before you know it, magically, the heretofore unknown company is worth a billion dollars. End of story. The reality is usually the opposite – an incredibly rich, complicated and nuanced adventure. The public never learns about the blood, sweat and tears that went into building the company.

Take Rock Mackie, co-founder of TomoTherapy in Wisconsin. He built a great company and went public at a valuation of about one billion dollars. But what to think when we factor in – that at the company’s launch he had to lay off every single employee? That’s the reality of his accomplishment, starting a research project at the University of Wisconsin, lining up GE as his ideal partner, losing GE, releasing the entire staff, putting his own money in along with his partner, slowly rebuilding to the point of incredible success.

The 45 founders created approximately $41 billion of value in the world as measured by either the price of the company at point of sale or public market valuation. We did not have publicly available information for all companies so in some cases these are just estimates.

How They Did It features founders including:

Jeff Aronin

Ovation Pharmaceuticals
Illinois
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Bonnie Baskin

Apptec Laboratory Services
Minnesota
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David Becker

First Internet Bank
Indiana

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Al Berning

Pemstar, Inc.
Minnesota

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Viresh Bhatia

Installshield
Illinois

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Mike Blair

Cyborg Systems
Illinois

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Dick Costolo

FeedBurner
Illinois

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John Croghan

Extended Care Information Network
Illinois
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Bill DeVille

Health Personnel Options
Ohio
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Jim Dolan

The Dolan Company
Minnesota

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Mike Domek

TicketsNow
Illinois

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Tony Faras

MGI Pharma
Minnesota

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Gian Fulgoni

comScore
Illinois

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Ron Galowich

First Health
Illinois

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Bill Gantz

Pathogenesis
Illinois

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Jim Gray

optionsXpress
Illinois

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Roland Green

Nimblegen Systems
Wisconsin

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Don Harrison

AtriCure
Ohio

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Rich Heise

InnerWorkings
Illinois

Scott Jones

GraceNote
Indiana

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Tim Krauskopf

Spyglass
Illinois

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Eric Lefkofsky

InnerWorkings
Illinois

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Rock Mackie

TomoTherapy
Wisconsin

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Joe Mansueto

Morningstar
Illinois

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Don Maurer

Empi
Minnesota

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Bill Merchantz

Lakeview Technology
Illinois

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Dane Miller

Biomet
Indiana

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Chris Moffitt

Rubicon Technology
Illinois

Michael
Pape

Esperion Theraputics
Michigan

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Thomas Parkinson

Peapod
Illinois

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Vince
Pettinelli

PeopleServe
Ohio

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Joe
Piscopo

Pansophic
Illinois

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Michael
Polsky

SkyGen
Illinois

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Joel
Ronning

Digital River
Minnesota

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Stephen Shank

Capella Education
Minnesota

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Phil
Sheridan

Extended Care Information Network
Illinois
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Scott Sheridan

thinkorswim
Illinois

Rajesh Soin

MTC Technologies
Ohio

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Phil Soran

Compellent Technologies
Minnesota
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Brian Sullivan

Recovery Engineering
Minnesota

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Jeff
Surges

Extended Care Information Network
Illinois
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Mark
Tebbe

Lante Corporation
Illinois

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Glen
Tullman

Allscripts
Illinois

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Howard Tullman

Certified Collateral Corporation
Illinois
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Mahendra Vora

Intelliseek
Ohio

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