William von Meister, Jim Kimsey, Steve Case, 1983

In the 1980s America Online (AOL) was a small company that provided an online service for the Commodore-64 home computer. It also had plans for video-on-demand and an online music store. AOL was somewhat ahead of its time. Just before it went bankrupt, AOL started focusing its business on BBS, the pre-Internet Internet. AOL introduced an instant messaging service in 1989 that welcomed users with the popular phrase: “You’ve got mail!” In 1991 it helped the first Internet users go online with AOL software. At its peak, AOL had 30 million users worldwide and helped shape the Internet.