- Tatiana Birgisson, 26
Five years ago, in a Duke University dorm room, something unusual was brewing. It was tea designed to eke out every bit of caffeine and antioxidants its little leaves contained. The brewmaster was undergrad Tatiana Birgisson, who had an aversion to coffee, but wanted a healthy energy booster. Soon, she was hauling kegs of her concoction in her two-door Toyota Yaris to small local businesses, whose employees preferred it to Red Bull. Over the past few years the half-Icelandic, half-Venezuelan U.S. citizen has turned from dorm-room tinkerer to the chief executive of Mati Energy, the maker of the health-drink-energy-drink hybrid of the same name that's expected to bring in $1 million in revenue this year (the company is valued at $5.5 million). The unique product is a lightly carbonated fruit-juice and guayusa tea blend. It is sold in Whole Foods across the Southeast U.S., and soon will be on the shelves of Kroeger and Costco.
Note: All data as of 1/31/16