Gurbaksh Chahal dropped out of high school at 16 to become an entrepreneur. Find out how he went from bullied kid to multimillionaire 20-something.
Growing up in gritty East San Jose, California, Gurbaksh Chahal struggled to fit in. Emigrating from India with his family at age 4, he wore a traditional head covering for Sikh children called a patka to school. It was just one cultural difference that his pint-sized peers bullied him about. But instead of succumbing to what he recalls as a "wild, wild west for minorities," Chahal leaned into his close-knit family for the strength that would become his entrepreneurial fuel.
He dropped out of high school at 16, started a business and never looked back.
My focus was to think: 'OK, I'm not going to have the most friends, be prom king or the most popular student — but so what?' I fell in love with the Internet, with business and the idea of being in control and knowing that my destiny was in my own hands. I became more determined than ever to succeed.
Fascinated by online advertising and the "concept of a click," Chahal founded ClickAgents in December 1998. Less than two years later, he sold it for $40 million. Staying hungry for growth, he started online advertising network BlueLithium in 2004. Yahoo Inc. bought it within three years for $300 million. The latest entrepreneurial venture for Chahal, now 29, is RadiumOne, a fast-growing ad network that leverages social data on the Web.
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