Student Founder Story - Meet Europe's Youngest Billionaire: Markus Villig - Bolt CEO

Student Founder Story - Meet Europe's Youngest Billionaire: Markus Villig - Bolt CEO

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2 min read

August 21, 2023

At just 29 years old, Markus Villig has achieved what many can only dream of: becoming Europe's youngest billionaire. His remarkable journey from a tech-savvy dreamer to a trailblazing entrepreneur is a testament to the power of vision and determination.

The Early Spark

At the tender age of 12, Markus Villig's fascination with technology kindled a dream – a dream of building a tech empire that would leave a mark on the world. His journey, though, truly took off in high school when he began building websites for local businesses. Alongside his older brother Martin Villig, Markus attended Skype's hackathon, setting the stage for what was to come.

The Birth of Bolt

It was during an event in Kyiv that Markus and Martin experienced a frustrating episode with traditional taxi services. This moment of inconvenience sparked a brilliant idea – Bolt. More than just a ride-sharing service, Bolt aimed to revolutionize the way people commute. The focus was on reliability, affordability, and above all, convenience.

From College to Unicorn

Markus's determination led him to take a bold step. At 19, he left college after just one semester of Computer Science studies at the University of Tartu. With 5000 euros from his family (originally saved for his college fund), Markus breathed life into Bolt. He personally recruited taxi drivers, navigated regulatory hurdles, and secured licenses for Bolt's operations across various cities.

The Journey to Success

Markus's journey didn't stop there. His initial funds of 100,000 euros came from a group of angel investors, including key figures from the "Skype Mafia" and renowned entrepreneur Mikko Silventola. Bolt's rapid expansion followed, reaching over 450 cities and 45 countries, serving millions of customers globally.

Age is Just a Number

Markus Villig's story showcases that age is merely a number. What truly matters are vision, tenacity, and an unwavering entrepreneurial spirit. From navigating regulations to securing substantial funding, Markus's journey holds invaluable lessons for young founders building early-stage startups. It's proof that with the right mindset, success knows no age limits.

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