Entrepreneurial alumnus shares his story with Willamette students

While in middle school, Noah Horton ’02 bought books at garage sales and sold them to a used bookstore for a profit.

Nearly two decades later, Horton did something similar — this time selling his social media platform company, Involver, to Oracle for an undisclosed sum.

Horton shared stories about his career mishaps and successes while visiting Willamette last week. During his time on campus, he talked with computer science students and a class at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

"Students should figure out the job they want now, while they are still in school," Horton says. "Get out of the classroom, meet people, go on job shadows. You won't magically get the job you want based on your degree alone."

Horton, who majored in computer science and math at Willamette, did just that while he was still a student. During his college days, he interned at Sun Microsystems and Hewlett Packard, and he received a Carson Undergraduate Research Grant to help fund his interests.

Horton attributes some of his success to computer science professor Fritz Ruehr, who encouraged Horton to pursue his goals. 

“He was most supportive of all of my interests," Horton says. "He has a passion for helping students realize their potential."

Horton took Ruehr’s advice to heart throughout his career as a software developer — landing increasingly technical jobs at Sun, HP and Microsoft. He has filed more than 25 patents, and in 2008, Inc. Magazine named Horton one of America’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30.

In 2007, Horton co-founded Involver, a large enterprise social media company serving more than a million businesses. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Involver helped companies keep track of their overall social media presence and more effectively use websites like Facebook and YouTube to market their products.

Horton sold the social media platform company to Oracle earlier this year. He is now leading the integration of Involver’s social capabilities into Oracle’s portfolio — helping with everything from marketing and customer support to commerce and human capital management.