AOL founder Steve Case: Want to have impact? Start a company

The pervasiveness of the Internet in the last 25 years has changed technology, politics and philanthropy, AOL founder and former CEO Steve Case said

"Fifty years ago, you want to change the world, maybe you had to go into politics. Twenty-five years ago, maybe you had to start a nonprofit. Now, you can start a company and have a significant impact in how people live their everyday lives," Case said in an interview Tuesday at the Milken Global Conference.

He and his wife, Jean, co-founder of The Case Foundation, participated in several panels at the conference, which is focused on impact investing—a new class of investors who desire both social and financial returns.

Forerunner of the Internet: AOL's co-founder Steve Case
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Forerunner of the Internet: AOL's co-founder Steve Case

Even billionaires have to wait in line at Milken

Asked about the final list of the CNBC First 25 compiled in conjunction with the network's 25th anniversary, Case agreed with the ranking of Apple founder Steve Jobs at No. 1.

"He really inspired a generation around technology, but also around entrepreneurship," said Case, who was a top 100 finalist on the CNBC list.