- Age: 22
- Company: Oculus VR
- Best known for: Creating the Oculus Rift
- Quote: "Our goal is to promote the long-term adoption of virtual reality, not the short-term financial returns."
It's difficult to not be envious of Palmer Luckey. At just 22 years old, the guy has already brought virtual reality back from the dead and founded a company so important that Facebook decided it just had to own it. Luckey created the Oculus Rift, a product whose name has already become synonymous with the new wave of virtual reality.
Unimpressed with the head mounted displays available at the time, Luckey was driven to create a better virtual reality experience. After a period of odd jobs that helped fund his collection of dated virtual reality equipment, Luckey built his first VR prototype at age 18
However, it wasn't until the sixth generation of the headset that it was christened the "Rift". Soon after that, Luckey founded Oculus VR and, with interest from id Software's John Carmack and the endorsement of Valve boss Gabe Newell, dropped out of university to pursue his VR dream. Luckey had turned to crowdfunding for earlier headset prototypes, but this time the Oculus Rift was more fully formed. The Kickstarter was an astounding success, achieving 974% of its target and raising $2.5m.
Just one year after being founded, Oculus VR had raised $91m in venture capital - there was no stopping the Rift at this point. But what really secured the future of Oculus, and possibly virtual reality itself, was Facebook.
In March 2014, Facebook announced it would buy the company for $2 billion, and just over a year later the two confirmed that the Oculus Rift will arrive in early 2016.
- In partnership with Microsoft, powered by the HP Spectre x360