- Austin Kevitch, 27; Alec Lorraine, 27
Austin Kevitch co-founded Brighten Labs, an app maker aimed at making people smile, after the death of dear friend. The company's first app, Brighten, which offers to dispatch compliments to their friends while they're still living was inspired by that loss. At its height, in 2015, Kevitch says the app, which is free to use, had about 2 million users. Then, in 2016, Brighten Labs got socked with a wrongful termination lawsuit from a former employee, who worked briefly at Brighten as an advisor. The matter was settled out of court, but the experience left the company battered.
Kevitch and his co-founder, Alec Lorraine, are now in the throes of a comeback with their second app, Moodboost. Launching in February 2019, the app offers users a curated "happy news story" every morning in exchange for $1 a month. According to Kevitch, it already has 10,000 users. If this app “scales anywhere near [how] Brighten did, we should generate around $5 million in revenue in year one,” he says. -- Guadalupe Gonzalez