Leah Culver (Internet RockStar)

leah-culver.jpgA fresh graduate of the University of Minnesota in 2006, Leah Culver wanted to use her computer-science degree to forge a career in programming.

With empty pockets, this future entrepreneur drew upon her creativity instead: Culver decided to sell ad space on her yet-to-be-realized laptop.

The idea worked, and at $50 per square inch of ad space, Culver got her shiny new MacBook, onto which she laser etched all the ads for the real estate she sold. Culver’s self-starter attitude led her to become co-founder and lead developer of Pownce, a blogging and social-networking site that was shut down in November 2008 when it was acquired by Six Apart, the company behind a handful of popular blogging platforms.

"Starting a business was more about the freedom to create my own software than about being an entrepreneur," says Culver. "The idea for Pownce came from wanting to make it easier to share fun stuff with friends."

She's trying that again with her newest project, building LeafyChat.com, an Internet chatting application.

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By Joyce C. Tang
The Daily Beast