Where are They Now?
Aaron Patzer, the founder of Mint.com (2008), sold his company to Intuit for $170 million and has been ensconced as Vice President and General Manager of Intuit Personal Finance Group. But he hasn't forgotten his entrepreneurial roots. He's using that stack of cash from Intuit to make some angel investments of his own, including a stake in Jack Abraham's Milo.com, which is on this year's list. And he's also an informal advisor to Anapata's Ooshma Garg.
When he appeared on the 30 Under 30 list in 2008, Etsy founder Rob Kalin had just hired a professional CEO and given up day-to-day management responsibilities. But last December, Kalin retook the reins. Etsy has thrived since--the company is profitable and has been posting double-digit monthly sales gains. In his spare time, Kalin is working on a second company, Parachutes.org, an online education start-up.
Chaim Indig and Evan Roberts, the founders of Phreesia (2008), closed a $16 million Series D investment from Ascension Health Ventures in May. Phreesia, a self-service patient check-in company that makes electronic tablets for use in doctors' offices, will use the investment to expand its nationwide presence.
Involver founders Rahim Fazal and Noah Horton (2008), have added Facebook, the White House, and Sony Music to their client list. Involver, which helps companies and organizations build their video presence across social networking platforms, now supports more than 80,000 brands.
It's been a big year for Ben Lerer and Adam Rich and their company Thrillist (2009). Early in 2010, Lerer and his father Ken, co-founder of The Huffington Post, launched the New York City-based angel fund Lerer Media Ventures. And in the spring, Thrillist made its first acquisition, expanding into the e-commerce space with the purchase of Jack Threads, a flash-sale site for men's streetwear that works similarly to Gilt.com. With the deal, Thrillist diversifies its business, which was heavily dependent on advertising revenue, while Jack Threads will get its name in front of Thrillist's nearly 2 million e-mail subscribers. "We have the e-mail list and they have the vendor relationships," Lerer says. "The case we made is that it would be just so much easier for them if they didn't have to worry about building the audience."
Box.net's (2008) Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith grew their company more than 535 percent in 2009 and tripled revenue in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. Box.net allows users to share, store, and access any type of digital file from anywhere at anytime, and now has more than 4 million users, ranging from SMBs to giants like Volvo, Audi and Coca Cola. The company launched one of the first customized business applications for the iPad, developed mobile applications for the iPhone and Blackberry, and also integrated with other mobile productivity applications. Last April, the founders landed $15M in Series C financing, led by Scale Venture Partners, bringing Box.net's total venture funding to $29.5M. Levie and Smith plan to invest aggressively in R&D and will add a significant number of employees.
Ben Kaufman (2007) sold Mophie in August of 2007 and began developing Kluster, a platform designed for group decision making and measuring influence. It's Kluster that drives Quirky, the social product development company that Kaufman launched in June 2009. Quirky develops one new product a week and shares the revenue with the influencers who helped develop each product. Since launch, Quirky has collaboratively developed 46 new products, hit threshold on 16 (the trigger that sends a product into production) and raised $6 million dollars in series A financing led by RRE (also an investor in Venmo, on this year's list.)
In June, ModCloth (2009) closed a $19.8 million of funding led by Accel Partners. The company is opening a new headquarters in San Francisco and a supply chain office in Los Angeles. The money, says CEO Eric Koger, will also go towards purchasing more inventory to meet demand and developing new applications to build upon the site's Be the Buyer feature, which allows customers to vote on which new styles the site should sell. "Normally, designers make production decisions based on the commitment of the buyer, and everyone's just guessing what the customer might want," Koger says. "We hope to create change in the way they do business."
The founders of fast-growing College Hunks Hauling Junk (2008), Nick Freidman and Omar Soliman, now have 30 franchisees. They've also appeared on ABC's Shark Tank as well as Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker and they will soon be published authors. Effortless Entrepreneur: Work Smart, Play Hard, Make Millions (Three Rivers Press) is scheduled to hit the bookshelves on September 7.
More book news: Tina Wells of Buzz Marketing Group (2008) published her third book this year. Mackenzie Blue: Friends Forever (Harper Collins, 2010) continues the adventures of Wells' scrappy tween heroine, first introduced in two previous books in 2009.
Teen advice guru Josh Shipp of Hey Josh (2009) will publish The Teen's Guide to World Domination (St. Martin's Griffin) on August 17. Shipp also says his new television show, Jump Shipp, will begin airing on Halogen in January.
TerraCycle's Tom Szaky (2006) will star in a new reality show called Garbage Moguls, scheduled to air on the National Geographic Channel in August. TerraCycle began international expansion in 2009 and is now operating in the UK, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Ireland and France. The company's latest "upcycling" project: Working with Colgate to collect used toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes that will be turned into toothbrush holders or makeup.
Jodie Snyder and Danielle Snyder, the founders of jewelry maker Dannijo (2009) just opened a new showroom in Manhattan's meatpacking district, hired three new employees, launched a line of iPhone accessories, and is in the process of launching a signature DANNIJO backpack purse for fall.
Nicolas Thomley of Pinnacle Services (2006) recently acquired two small failing companies which contributed to Pinnacle's continued growth. The company also received LEED Gold certification on its new corporate headquarters making it one of the most sustainable buildings in Minnesota. In mid-April, Thomely left the company in the hands of his management team to take a sabbatical in Italy. 'I ran with the bulls yesterday in Pamplona, Spain,' he wrote to us last week. "It was fantastic!'
Bobby Kim and Ben Shenassafar of The Hundreds (2008) report that 'over the past two years our company has doubled in sales.' They're opening their third store in New York City next month and they've also launched a footwear brand. 'Even though things have slowed down, we're still finding ways to grow,' says Shenassafar.
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