Where Are They Now?
Despite the economic gloom and doom, the honorees on this year's 30 Under 30 list are building wildly successful ventures with the help of their peers, parents, professors, and patrons. Why enlisting these loyal tribes of support has become so important in the start-up world -- and how the smartest companies foster that same loyalty among their customers.
No. 29 (2008)
"Involver has grown tremendously in the last year. Customer demand has soared, and our marketing platform for social networks is now serving millions of pieces of rich content and multimedia every month. We know that we've established a unique footing in the digital marketing world, as more and more companies realize the value of identifying and engaging massive (and largely untapped) audiences on sites like Facebook.
"When Inc. profiled Involver last September, we were busy building custom video marketing campaigns for brands like Puma and Nissan. Since then, we've expanded our technology platform significantly: in late April 2009, Involver launched a huge suite of brandable apps for Facebook pages, which includes the Twitter, YouTube, poll, quiz, and coupon apps in addition to more than a dozen others.
"Less than five months after this launch, Involver's Facebook marketing suite has already attracted tens of thousands of customers. We're happy to say that the Involver family is as diverse as it is large: Britney Spears (2.2+ million Page fans) is a member, but so are Us Weekly (250,000+ Page fans) and the industry-leading P&G brand. We think that this great across-the-board response is due, in part, to Involver's unique combination of technology and services: on top of our Facebook applications, we offer comprehensive analytics, end-to-end account management, guaranteed fan page growth, and more.
"What's next for us? As far as our bottom line goes, we're now profitable. We want to keep the momentum going, and we certainly need to keep up with demand, so we're looking to add some rock stars to our San Francisco-based team. We welcome anyone to get in touch!"
No. 5 (2007)
"Since being featured in 2007, Kathryn Kerrigam, has grown into an international brand, developed a cult-like following, and increased market share. Sales on the company's website, KathrynKerrigan.com, have jumped 350 percent in Q1 and 325 percent in Q2 of 2009, as compared with same quarters of 2008. International Web sales have increased by 400 percent overall and is now a substantial part of the business, with many orders being delivered to small countries like Dubai, Serbia, and Croatia.
"We are also experiencing positive growth with retail locations. In October, the first store to operate outside of the U.S. will be opened in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The year 2010 will bring additional Canadian stores, as well as more stores throughout the U.S. Wholesale distribution has also increased, and now Kathryn's shoes can be found on Endless.com, a fashion-savvy subsidiary of Amazon.
"With the strong increase in sales, we have been able to develop new styles in new colors. In the fashion world, it doesn't get any better than seeing our shoes being gracefully walked down the runway during New York Fashion Week in February 2009. In addition, many national magazines and television shows have followed suit by publishing stories about our collection of shoes.
"We continue to raise eyebrows with each season's launch of beautiful, comfortable, classy shoes and boots for tall women."
No. 13 (2007)
"Kernel Season's popcorn seasoning has continued to 'pop' over the past few years with sales revenue growing at about 50 percent each year. Over 70 percent of grocery stores and 60 percent of movie theatres in the United States now carry our products.
"Flavors have grown too. White cheddar, nacho cheddar, and butter are still the top selling popcorn flavors, but we have added chile lime, salt & vinegar, and dill pickle to the mix. Kernel Season's also launched three new popcorn products, including a one-pound pouch of raw popping corn, movie theatre butter-flavored Popping and Topping Oil and a 'popcorn spritzer.' The spritzer adds natural butter flavor to popcorn and helps our seasonings stick. We believe these products will help consumers enjoy our core products even more.
"For the first time ever, Kernel Season's will be advertising on television. Our commercials will begin airing this fall in various markets across the country. We believe that there are still a lot of popcorn lovers that need to discover Kernel Season's. This is an exciting opportunity to take the brand to the next level.
"Kernel Season's now has over 50 employees. We operate three production lines at our company headquarters in Elk Grove Village, Ill. Our distribution has expanded internationally to over 30 countries including Canada, Sweden, Norway, Mexico, Philippines, Jordan, and Israel.
"Over the next few years, we look forward to continuing to grow the Kernel Season's brand. We are also excited to launch new products and discover totally new product categories."
No. 26 (2007)
"The last two years have been an incredibly exciting time at GreenPrint. We have grown geometrically both in terms of sales and staff, and have been lucky enough to bring on board some remarkably talented people.
"This summer we launched v2, or version 2, which has been entirely redesigned with large organizations in mind and offers a whole host of new cost-saving and print management functionality. The new version allows the average user to save $100 per year in printing costs, and in some cases we've saved companies as much as $860 per user per year (an ROI of 13 days), as well as providing a quantifiable environmental savings. We have a long list of Fortune 500 clients who have been waiting to roll out the new version and we closed a 50,000 license deal with one of the largest companies in Asia before the product had even gone to market. We also expanded our OEM licensing partnership with Xerox to provide unlimited licenses to their entire line of eco-friendly Xerox Solid Ink printers.
"Our new version of GreenPrint World is downloaded by more than 1,000 people a day, and we continue to get outstanding media coverage in everything from local blogs to a recent profile in The New York Times. We expect to sustain our exponential growth over the next few years both nationally and internationally (v2 has already been localized into 21 languages), with home users as well as the largest multinational corporations -- a very exciting road ahead."
No. 14 and No. 15 (2007)
"InterviewStream is on track to maintain our early role as an industry innovator and to continue to set the market pace for cost-effective and climate-friendly recruiting best practices.
"In fact, since being included on the 30 Under 30 list in 2007, we have also been featured by two of our local papers as market trailblazers: The Philadelphia Business Journal and The Philadelphia Inquirer. We have since expanded our product offerings to include employer 'Green Interviews,' video practice interviews, virtual career fairs, and online roleplay sales training. We also launched GreenInterview.com, a Web-based interviewing service for employers, which allows them to screen candidates online along with tracking travel costs, mileage, and CO2 emissions saved using an online 'green calculator'. This product was also featured in Inc. in April 2009 as well as The Wall Street Journal in May 2009. With marquee customers in place, core products available for sale and a right-sized operating structure, InterviewStream is focused on additional growth in the employer, outplacement, and university markets.
"Finally, the tremendous wave of online video adoption in the workplace and the fact that online video interviews and roleplays have become best practice among organizations is proof that, since our launch in 2004, InterviewStream has changed the way companies recruit and how candidates interview -- all while driving costs down for clients via the digital interviewing marketplace."