Privilege Made Me An Entrepreneur

Most Entrepreneurs Start Rich. I Did.


The height of privilege is the panel (or manel) discussion

Young people ask me how to become an entrepreneur. It’s a simple answer. Be born rich.

They laugh every time, but it’s not a joke.

The first hump in entrepreneurship is about $20,000, and almost no one who’s not related to you will give you that money. If you don’t have savings or rich family or friends, you’re probably stuck at the gate. Zuckerberg, Bezos, et cetera. They all started with family investment.

And it goes deeper than that.

By the time someone is old enough to drop out of college their parents have already invested thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in them. In books, schools, or even just nutrition and security. Steve Jobs's parents weren’t rich, but they used all their savings to move to a better school district and send him to Reed College. Larry Page and Sergey Brin came from highly educated families and went to Stanford.

This is the iceberg of privilege under entrepreneurship, but we don’t talk about it. And we should.

The most common shared trait among entrepreneurs is access to financial capital — family money, an inheritance, or a pedigree and connections that allow for access to financial stability. While it seems that entrepreneurs…



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at