- Ben Lee, 27
When a celebrity, public figure, or company wants an app built, they often turn to an agency. Ben Lee and Drew Harding had worked at one such agency, and knew all its flaws. They wanted to upend the agency model that included billing clients for time, which led to the frequent creation of feature-heavy, clunky apps. In 2011, they founded a tech studio called Neon Roots. While the startup builds apps and does development consulting for companies and celebrities, it more closely resembles a private business incubator. That's because before committing to a project, they bring a client through a two-week workshop process called Rootstrap, which they developed to analyze the market fit and viability of the proposed project, and to hone it before any costly programming begins. Neon Roots has worked with more than 100 clients, including companies such as Spotify and Epson, and celebrities such as Tony Robbins and Snoop Dogg.
Note: All data as of 1/31/16