The Entrepreneurs: Chris Ashton, 36, and Natasha Ashton, 34
Background: The British-born married couple moved to the U.S. in 2001 to attend the The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Shortly after enrolling, their cat, Bodey, became sick. The ensuing $5,000 vet bill forced the couple to move to a smaller apartment and prompted them to look for pet insurance. Their search did not prove fruitful. Even though the pet products industry was booming, pet insurance was practically nonexistent. The Ashtons thought the few available insurance products were overly complicated and restrictive, so they put their business degrees to use and started their own company to fill the gap.
The Company: Following their graduation, in July 2006, the Ashtons launched Petplan Pet Insurance in the U.S. with coverage for all hereditary conditions for the life of an insured pet. Petplan now insures tens of thousands of pets across the country.