Narrowing down our impressive list of 30 Under 30 candidates wasn't easy. Meet the folks tasked with the tough job.
The 30 Under 30 selection process kicked-off in January, when Inc. put out a call for nominations, and received more than 600 online applications from impressive young entrepreneurs. In addition to funding information and a pitch, we asked applicants to tell us why they thought they should be on the list, whether they felt they had a social mission, and what their passions are outside of work.
Our staff reviewed and culled the applicants down to 165 companies. We were looking for start-ups that had achieved measurable success, and were predisposed toward those that disclosed revenue and other success metrics.
The companies that made the first cut were sent to our 11 judges, who halved their lists, then split them again in another round of judging. The criteria? We kept an eye out for diversity in terms of industry and geography, as well as entrepreneurial endeavors that are poised to make a big impact on their communities and the world at large.
The final 30 Under 30 are the best and the brightest young entrepreneurs in 2013. Let us introduce you to the men and women who generously volunteered their time and expertise to identify them:
Serial entrepreneur David Cohen is perhaps best known as the founder and CEO of the start-up accelerator TechStars. He was the founder and chief technology officer of Pinpoint Technologies, which was acquired by ZOLL Medical Corporation in 1999, and earFeeder.com, a music service sold to SonicSwap.com in 2006. The serial entrepreneur has also invested in over 100 companies. @davidcohen< With over 25 years of high-tech industry experience and active involvement in the venture capital community since 2002.
Cindy Padnos is the founder and managing partner of Illuminate Ventures, an early stage Micro VC firm focused on cloud computing. Padnos has deployed over $100 million in venture funding to help dozens of start-ups get off the ground, and was named one of the Most Influential Women in Technology (Fast Company) and one of the Most Influential Women in Business in the Bay Area (San Francisco Business Times). @illuminateVC
Computer programmer and entrepreneur Paul Buchheit is a partner at the venture capital firm Y Combinator, co-founder of FriendFeed, which was acquired by Facebook in 2009, and was one of the first engineers at Google. At Google, he created Gmail and implemented many of its features. He also suggested the "Don't be evil" motto, and created the first AdSense prototype. @paultoo
Inc.'s Street Smarts columnist and senior contributing editor Norm Brodsky is a veteran entrepreneur who has founded and grown six businesses. In 2008 he sold CitiStorage, a document-archive business based in Brooklyn, New York, for $110 million. @normbrodsky
Inc. 30 Under 30 honoree Morgen Newman currently serves as the international general manager at IdeaPaint, where he is responsible for establishing a presence in more than 40 countries globally. Since joining IdeaPaint full-time in early 2007, he has played a critical role in IdeaPaint’s financing and continues to be heavily involved in company strategy. @IdeaPaintMojo
Chicago-area serial entrepreneur Genevieve Thiers is the founder of Sittercity.com, America's first company to take caregiving services online. She also founded ContactKarma.com, a social recommendation engine for business owners and execs seeking deals on corporate products and services, and OperaModa.com, an effort to highlight American operas and bring modern operatic talent to the Chicago public.
Eric Chin, a serial entrepreneur and venture investor with over 20 years of experience under his belt, is a general partner with Crosslink Capital, where he focuses exclusively on early stage technology companies. Chin co-founded the Internet server software company WebSpective (INKT) and TelASIC Communications (MTI). @chindogger
Happy Family founder and CEO Shazi Visram is a passionate supporter of health, wellness, and sustainability. Visram started Happy Family, the leading premium brand of baby and toddler meals in the U.S., in 2003 as an alternative to store-bought baby food. The company was recently purchased by Danone for hundreds of millions of dollars. @shaziv
Susan Gregg Koger is the chief creative officer and co-founder of ModCloth, an e-tailer known for its innovative social shopping experience, vintage-inspired apparel and décor, and wide range of styles from independent designers. She is also an advisor at Market Publique, an online vintage seller based in Brooklyn. @SusanGKoger
Donna Fenn, a contributing editor at Inc. and the senior editor for Inc.com's 30 Under 30 Coolest Entrepreneurs, has been writing about entrepreneurship for more than 20 years. She’s also the author of Alpha Dogs: How Your Small Business Can Become a Leader of the Pack, and Upstarts! How GenY Entrepreneurs are Rocking the World of Business. @donnafenn
JULIE STRICKLAND covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurial endeavors of all kinds for Inc. Her work has been published in Brooklyn Based and City Limits in New York, the Free Times in Columbia, SC, Real Travel Magazine in London, and Daegu Pockets in South Korea. She lives in New York City. @Jules5168
2012 Jeremy Johnson of 2tor, Ben Milne of Dwolla, Lucas Buick and Ryan Dorshorst co-founders of Hipstamatic, Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski, co-founders of Codeacademy, and Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky, co-founders of BaubleBar join our illustrious annual list. Plus the start-up stories of Pinterest, Spotify, GiveFoward, and Back to the Roots.
2011 Read about Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger of Instagram, Matt Mickiewicz of 99designs, and Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp of Birchbox. Plus the start-up stories of Quora, Onswipe, Dropbox, Foodspotting, and Gemvara.
2010 Meet Alexa von Tobel of Learnvest, Naveen Selvadurai of Foursquare, Jack Abraham of Mint.com, plus the founders of Rent the Runway, Airbnb, Crowdflower, Posterous, LivingSocial, and Urban Escapes (now part of Living Social).
2009 Pete Cashmore of Mashable, Elliott Bisnow of Summit Series, Danielle and Jodie Snyder of Dannijo, Jamail Larkins of Larkins Enterprises were included on our 2009 list, as were the teams behind ModCloth, Thrillist, IdeaPaint, Foodzie, and Justin.TV.