Meet 30 Cool Young Entrepreneurs
Naveen SelvaduraiSarah PrevetteVikas Reddy and Jeffrey PowersEllen Gustafson and Lauren BushSachin Agarwal and Garry TanMaverick CarterJennifer Hyman and Jenny FleissThe Founders of AirBnBFraser DohertyThe Founders of Agile SportsThe Founders of Her CampusJoshua DziabiakLukas Biewald and Chris Van PeltAmos Winbush IIISean WhalenThe Founders of LivingSocialJack AbrahamThe Founders of VenmoThe Founders of SongkickMaia Josebachvili and Bram LevyCallie Works-LearyAaron Houghton and Ryan AllisAlexa von TobelDan SchawbelJoe McClureDavid SchottensteinOoshma GargChris Easter and Bob HornerAshleigh HansbergerTyler Balliet and Morgan First
Is it a game? Is it a social network? Does it really matter? Naveen Sevadurai, 28, and his co-founders at Foursquare are rocking it in the geolocation space. With more than 2 million users, the business is valued at nearly $100 million. Read more.
This 28-year-old Toronto entrepreneur created Sprouter to combat her own feelings of isolation. The Twitter-like social network lets small business owners connect, network, and advise one another. At last count, the site had 15,000 users. Read more.
Occipital’s founders created RedLaser, the highly popular iPhone barcode-scanning app, which they recently sold to eBay. They used the proceeds from the deal to hire three engineers who are now working on developing more cool products. The Boulder, Colorado, start-up, which was backed by the incubator TechStars, will post $2.5 million in revenue this year. Reddy is 26, and Powers is 27. Read more.
FEED Projects mixes style with a strong social mission. Profits from the New York City company's collection of canvas bags – some designs are simple, others are more ornate – are donated to fight hunger. With sales this year of $1.5 million, FEED has provided 56 million meals to children worldwide. Gustafson just turned 30. Bush, 26, is the niece and granddaughter of the former presidents. Read more.
Making blogging as simple as sending an e-mail is the goal at Posterous, a San Francisco start-up. The company developed technology by which users can automatically create a Web page when they send a post, a picture, or a video to firstname.lastname@example.org. The business has raised more than $5 million, and is backed by Y Combinator, the prestigious incubator. Agarwal just turned 30; Tan is 29. Read more.
This might not be the best time to be the brains behind LRMR Innovative Marketing & Branding, the company that manages the LeBron James brand. But Carter, who founded the business with James in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2006, has always fought the naysayers. He has already assembled an impressive portfolio of sponsors, which includes Nike, State Farm, and McDonald's, and hopes to expand the firm's client list, which, in addition to James, includes Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jonny Flynn. Read more.
To solve the “I have nothing to wear” problem, Hyman, 29, and Fleiss, 26, launched Rent the Runway, a website that helps fashionistas get their hands on designer clothing from the likes of Catherine Malandrino and Herve Leger, at a fraction of the retail price. Since launching last fall, the New York City company has registered more than 450,000 members, and is on pace to add 20,000 new members each week. Read more.
Brian Chesky, 28, Joe Gebbia, 28, and Nathan Blecharczyk, 27, have rooms to rent – lots of them. Their San Francisco start-up, AirBnB, allows homeowners with a little extra space to list and rent out their digs online. The company, a Y Combinator graduate, now has listings in nearly 5,000 cities in 142 countries. Read more.
One of Britain's most acclaimed (and precocious) foodies, Doherty, 21, leveraged his grandmother’s jam recipe to create a line of all-natural products. Sold under the brand name Super Jam, his fruit spreads are distributed widely in the United Kingdom. With sales of $1.1 million in 2009, the young Scot says his Edinburgh-based business will begin exporting to the U.S. in the near future. Read more.
David Graff, John Wirtz, and Brian Kaiser, all age 27, created software that lets coaches and players analyze game video footage remotely and securely over a laptop. Brett Favre, among others, used it when he played with the New York Jets. The Lincoln, Nebraska, company is on pace to gross at least $2 million this year, its founders predict, up from $475,000 in 2009. Read more.
Stephanie Kaplan, Windsor Hanger, and Annie Wang, all 21, turned a college fashion magazine into Her Campus, a website for students that features articles on everything from dating to surviving dull internships. Based near Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the site covers 30 campuses, with more scheduled to launch this fall. Read more.
Watch out Ticketmaster. ShowClix, Dziabiak's Pittsburgh-based business, delivers tickets to concerts and events by e-mail and text message. The company will close 2010 with sales of $8 million, up from $4.5 million in 2009. Not bad considering that Dziabiak is just 23. Read more.
Biewald and Van Pelt, both 28, are seeking to make the world's contingent workers available online to the companies that need them to perform large volumes of simple tasks quickly and efficiently. Their San Francisco-based company, Crowdflower, has grown three-fold in the past nine months. Read more.
The nattily-attired Winbush III runs a company called CyberSynchs, which allows customers to synchronize data between their smartphones and their computers. Corporations also use it to pull information from the equipment of their mobile workers. The 26-year-old expects his New York City-based company to post more than $5 million in revenue this year—and perhaps as much as $12 million. Read more.
Whalen, 28, developed the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill with his father, a former NASA research scientist. The machine, which allows users to walk or run at just 20 percent of their actual body weight, is ideal for sports-injury rehab. U.S. soccer star Oguchi Onyewu, who used the treadmill to get healthy for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, is a spokesperson for the company. Whalen projects $10 million in sales this year. Read more.
Tim O'Shaughnessy, 28, and Eddie Frederick, 29, founded this website, which provides users access to great local deals. Like competitor Groupon, they have raised big money: A total of $40 million from venture capitalists, which, they hope, will propel them to a revenue of more than $100 million this year (up from roughly $10 million last year.) Read more.
Abraham, 24, started San Francisco-based Milo.com to track online the availability and price of products at brick-and-mortar stores. Enter your zip code and the product name or SKU you’re looking for, and Milo will tell you where to find it in stock. The site saw its traffic grow by 70 percent each month in 2009. Mint.com founder Aaron Patzer is an investor. Read more.
Former University of Pennsylvania roommates Iqram Magdon-Ismail, 26, and Andrew Kortina, 27, started Venmo as a way to pay one another back for, say, a round of drinks or a tank of gas. Their venture-backed Philadelphia start-up operates a peer-to-peer mobile payment system that allows trusted friends to register and transfer money to one another securely. Read more.
Ian Hogarth, Michelle You, and Pete Smith, all 28, started London-based Songkick to allow music fans to easily search for, and track, concert dates of their favorite bands, purchase tickets to those shows, and share concert photos and reviews online. Another Y Combinator grad, the company has compiled more than a million concert listings and has landed more than $5 million in venture capital. Read more.
If you live in a busy city but crave the great outdoors, then Urban Escapes is a good bet for you. The New York City company arranges excursions—think skydiving, hiking, and tubing—for young professionals who want to flee their concrete jungles for a few hours or even a week. Josebachvili, 26, and Levy, 30, project $1 million in revenue this year, up from $250,000 in 2009. Read more.
This is not your grandma’s sewing store. CityCraft, the brainchild of Dallas entrepreneur Callie Works-Leary, carries designer fabrics that appeal to a new generation of sewers. Works-Leary projects $350,000 in revenue this year. To give back to her local community, she teaches classes at an area women's shelter. Read more.
As roommates at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Allis, 26, and Houghton, 29, founded iContact, an e-mail marketing company that counts a large number of small businesses among its clients. The Durham, North Carolina, business is on track to gross $39 million in revenue this year. It's also a B Corporation, which means it qualifies for a quasi-formal designation shared by socially-conscious companies. Read more.
Von Tobel, 26, started New York City-based LearnVest when she realized that there were precious few money-management resources for people her age. The site, which received $1.1 million in seed funding from executives at Goldman Sachs, has more than 100,000 users. Read more.
Is personal branding this generation's Woodstock? That's the founder of Boston-based Millennial Branding believes. Inspired by Tom Peters’ 1997 Fast Company article “The Brand Called You, Schawbel has created a mini-empire of books, magazines, blogs, and consulting services designed to teach his contemporaries the value of creating a personal brand. Read more.
McClure, 29, and his older brother tapped a family recipe to create their own pickle business. With facilities in the founders' hometown of Detroit and in Brooklyn, McClure's Pickles has gained national distribution through Williams Sonoma and Whole Foods. The company is on track to double revenues to $800,000 this year. Read more.
Schottenstein, 26, aims to democratize the world of bespoke suits by making them less expensive and more widely available. Astor & Black, his Columbus, Ohio, company, works with a field sales force of 82 independent reps around the country, and fulfills the orders they bring in at tailoring shops in Asia and in the U.S. The business grossed $11.3 million in 2009 and is on track to hit $22 million in sales this year, Schottenstein says. Read more.
A recent Stanford graduate, Garg, 22, founded Anapata, an online recruitment site for law firms that want to reach a diverse population of law school graduates. The company's analytics package for employers has proven to be as much of a draw as its recruiting services. Now she hopes to expand by reaching out to business school recruiters. Read more.
These brothers-in-law from Kansas City, Missouri, always felt a little left out of the wedding planning process. Their solution was The Man Registry, a website for grooms that eschews place settings for power tools and camping gear. So far, 25 retailers have signed on to sell merchandise on the site. Easter is 26, and Horner is 29. Read more.
To help companies launch, grow, and reinvent their brands through good, old-fashioned storytelling and innovative use of social media, Hansberger, 28, launched Motto Agency. Her Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-based company is on track for $600,000 in revenue this year. Read more.
These entrepreneurs loved wine but felt that no one was marketing it properly to their generation. So they started The Second Glass, a company with offices in Boston and Los Angeles that connects wine sellers to young consumers through a series of events called Wine Riots. Sales should hit $325,000 this year, the partners say. Balliet is 29, and First (center) is 26. Read more.
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