Jawed Karim

Jawed Karim
Jawed Karim

For his entrepreneurial spirit as a co-founder of YouTube and support of other entrepreneurs as a mentor and investor.

Jawed Karim is the co-founder of YouTube, the second-most visited website after Google, serving over 5 billion videos per day worldwide as of 2022. 

Karim entered The Grainger College of Engineering’s computer science program in 1997, having been inspired by alumni Marc Andreessen, co-creator of the Mosaic web browser at National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). His enthusiasm led him to begin working part-time at NCSA before his classes started on campus. During his junior year, he was introduced to Max Levchin, future co-founder of PayPal, via a fellow undergraduate student, Russ Simmons, who would later co-found Yelp. 

Prior to graduating, Karim became one of the earliest engineers at PayPal where he helped develop the real-time antifraud systems. He and a group of his colleagues later became known as the "PayPal Mafia” - 23 tech entrepreneurs, many of whom are fellow alumni of University of Illinois. 

In 2005 he teamed up with his PayPal colleagues Chad Hurley and Steve Chen to co-found YouTube, which first began as a video-based dating website. Karim developed the concept and product with Hurley and Chen and raised the first round of financing from Sequoia Capital. He subsequently formed the investment firm YVentures with Keith Rabois and Kevin Hartz, which helps entrepreneurs to move their innovative products into the marketplace. YVentures became an investor in Airbnb’s initial seed round in 2009.

He was honored with The Grainger College of Engineering Department of Computer Science’s Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2014 and was the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign commencement speaker in 2007.


  • BS, Computer Science, The Grainger College of Engineering, 2004
  • MS, Computer Science, Stanford University, 2008