Every week in my Tech Caucus newsletter, I poll 50 leaders of the tech industry -- movers and shakers at Google, Greylock, TechCrunch, Uber, Goldman Sachs, The Wall Street Journal, CloudFlare, inDinero, and others -- on the most important issues in the tech industry. Recently, I polled the Caucus on the underrated or unknown entrepreneurs more people should know. These are the entrepreneurs who are doing great things but don't have the name recognition of a Mark Cuban (yet).
This list includes entrepreneurs who are changing the way we consume news, design our homes, and get our food. Check out the list and tell me how many of them you recognized before today!
Here are the Caucus' picks for the tech industry's entrepreneurs you should know:
1. Leura Fine, Co-founder and CEO of Laurel & Wolf
Leura is a rising entrepreneur in Los Angeles who has created an online platform for affordable interior design, Laurel & Wolf. Her company recently raised between $20 and $30 million from Benchmark Capital.
2. Ryan Dawidjan, Head of Business for Wildcard
Wildcard is a new type of news consumption experience for mobile, based in New York. Dawidjan's penchant has always been for building consumer-facing products.
3. Adam Price, Founder of Homer Logistics
A former aerospace engineer-turned-founder, his company Homer Logistics is rapidly making the logistics of mass delivery cheaper and more efficient.
4. Adam Foroughi, Founder of AppLovin
"He is an incredible entrepreneur who has built a strong mobile advertising company while many others are faltering," one of the members of Caucus says. AppLovin has raised $4 million from investors including Yahoo Chairman Maynard Webb.
5. Dora Hsu, Chief Platform Officer of SmartThings
An ex-Googler who made her mark running some of the search giant's biggest platforms, Hsu now runs the dev platform of Samsung's SmartThings subsidiary.
6. Razmig Hovaghimian, Founder of Ripple and Viki (acquired by Ratuken)
His global TV website, Viki, was acquired by Japan's Ratuken in 2013. "[He has] very deep knowledge of internet video, trends in Asia including Japan, and is a passionate investor," gushes one of my anonymous Caucus members. Now he runs news and content startup Ripple.
7. Mark Johnson, founder of Descartes Labs and Zite (acquired by CNN).
Mark Johnson started his career at Powerset, which was eventually acquired by Microsoft and became the basis for Bing. After selling Zite to CNN (and then to Flipboard), Johnson started Descartes Labs, an AI, image-analysis company for the agricultural industry. Johnson was a recent guest of my podcast, Oversubscribed with Jason L. Baptiste and Ben Parr.
8. Siqi Chen, Founder of Heyday, Former CEO of Serious Business (acquired by Zynga)
Siqi now runs Heyday, an automated journaling platform. He was previously at Zynga, which acquired his gaming company Serious Business. He's a product guru with a penchant for natural language technologies.
9. Chelsa Crowley, Co-founder of Stowaway Cosmetics.
From a member of the Tech Caucus: "Most people know recognize the Crowley name because of Dennis Crowley (founder of Foursquare), but in the tradition of smart entrepreneurial men marrying smart entrepreneurial women, Chelsa has been making waves with her company."
Crowley's company, Stowaway Cosmetics, is creating bite-sized cosmetic kits that are easy to use and just the right size for anyone who is on-the-go.
10. George Bousis, Founder of Raise.com
George Bousis is one of the most-connected people in Chicago. He fought uphill battles to create Raise.com, a huge marketplace for gift cards. His company recently raised over $50 million from NEA, Bessemer Venture Partners, and other investors.
11. Hiten Shah, Co-founder of Quick Sprout, KISSmetrics, and Crazy Egg
He's a known entity in Silicon Valley, "but he doesn't get the attention that many others with his level of expertise and connections get," says the Caucus member who nominated Shah. "He's one of the most selfless entrepreneurs in the valley, willing to meet and help anyone that emails him."
Shah isn't as famous as Jack Dorsey or Mark Zuckerberg, but perhaps he should be.
Hiten Shah. Image courtesy of YouTube
12. Ryan Hoover, Co-founder and CEO of Product Hunt
If you're an entrepreneur, you should be on Product Hunt religiously. New tech products, podcasts, and books are posted daily, giving you more than enough new tools for your arsenal and inspiration for your next idea. Hoover is one of the kindest, most passionate people in the tech industry.
13. Leila Janah, Co-founder of Samasource and Laxmi.
Janah built Samasource, a non-profit that helps bring digital work to countless impoverished people worldwide so they can have a decent life. In addition to Sama, she's also working on Laxmi, a new luxury skincare line. Janah is one of the most dedicated entrepreneurs out there.