Young entrepreneurs dive in to start their own businesses, despite the high failure rate

Analytics/ Analysis

By: Rachel Lerman

Risk-takers don’t want to miss out on what could be the opportunity of a lifetime.


Pixvana co-founder and CEO Forest Key looks around with a developer edition of HTC’s Vive, a headset for SteamVR, at his company’s office in Fremont. Pixvana, a company that works on virtual and augmented reality video processing, was founded in December 2015. (Lindsey Wasson/The Seattle Times)

EVERY DAY DURING the spring of 2011, Matt Oppenheimer sat in his pajamas at the dining-room table of his aunt’s house in London, making call after call to pitch his new plan for a company. “It’s a terrible idea,” the voices on the other end of the phone told him, again and again.

Reetu Gupta spent months helping her daughter apply to The Overlake School, a private school in Redmond the 10-year-old desperately wanted to attend. Gupta paid the $2,000 deposit after her daughter was accepted. Then she dropped the whole idea so she could start her own company.

During work quarrels at L’Oreal Paris, Karissa Bodnar’s team would often calm themselves by joking, “You know, we’re not curing cancer.” After Bodnar’s best friend died at 24 from a sarcoma, Bodnar quit L’Oreal and started a makeup company to benefit women with cancer.

Gupta quit her high-ranking job at Honeywell, stopped contributing to her two daughters’ college funds and launched an education startup. Oppenheimer stepped down as head of mobile banking at Barclays Kenya and, ignoring the doubters, founded Remitly, a financial remittance company, though a slightly different one than he first pitched.

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