Forget what you've heard: As diverse as it is massive, the millennial generation has more to boast than an aptitude for tech.
On Tuesday, professional support website Levo published its inaugural "Levo 100" list, a compilation of game-changers in business between the ages of 18 and 35. Honorees range from celebrities like Austin Brown and Sophia Bush, to high-profile executives, like Reddit's co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
Lesser-known names, like Pinterest's Tracy Chou, also made the cut. Chou is a software engineer who initiated Silicon Valley's well-documented (and disappointing) reveal of its corporate diversity statistics.
To create the list, which is divided into four categories (Entrepreneurs, Transformers, Rising Stars, and Creatives), Levo solicited nominations from its client base. A committee of ten, including Levo's co-founder and CEO, Caroline Ghosn, then selected their top picks.
Ghosn hopes that the list will help to debunk stereotypes surrounding the millennial generation -- namely, that they're fussy, irresponsible, and have a detrimentally short attention span.
"The fact that millennials are fast at communication and expect transparency, and don't feel comfortable with hierarchy, gets interpreted as us being impatient or entitled," Ghosn tells Inc. "These traits are perfectly normal given that we're the first digital natives."
Jake Horowitz, 27, is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of media startup Mic, and another Levo 100 honoree. He sees a number of positive things going on in the Gen Y sphere, which sets those members apart from Gen X.
"One interesting trend is that despite growing up in the post 9/11 era...this generation is hopeful and optimistic about the future," he tells me. And, perhaps contrary to popular belief, Mic staffers do not actually refer to one another as 'millennials.'
Mic (née, Policy Mic) initially set out to represent younger voices, or those which it found to be underrepresented in the landscape of new media.
As recently as June, Mic brought on Madhulika Sikka as its executive editor, who had previously served as the executive editor at NPR News. The hire was made as part of Mic's pivot to produce editorial content exclusively. The company has scooped up an enviable $32 million over four funding rounds, and is valued at nearly $100 million.
Ghosn concedes that the Levo 100 is hardly comprehensive. "It's intended to be a snapshot of some of the super inspirational movement(s) that we're seeing happen, that we hope we can elevate to the national stage," she says.
Here are a handful of entrepreneurs on the Levo 100 to watch:
Miki Agrawal, CEO and Co-founder, THINX
Agrawal created a line of "period-proof" underwear. The garments are manufactured at a facility in Sri Lanka, which also provides education and training to its female employees.
Chris Altchek and Jake Horowitz, Co-founders, Mic
Media upstart Mic is "by and for" millennial voices, says Horowitz. Prior to launching Mic, Horowitz earned his journalism chops by working as a reporter in the Middle East (he was initially based in Beirut, Lebanon, in the years leading up to the Arab Spring.)
Jenny Fleiss, Co-founder, Rent the Runway
Rent the Runway is an e-commerce retailer, which rents out dresses and accessories for ten percent of the retail price. Jenny Fleiss launched the company back in 2009 in New York City, along with co-founder Jennifer Hyman, in an effort to make haute-couture more affordable to the average shopper.
Scott Gerber, Founder, Young Entrepreneur Council
Scott Gerber heads up the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC,) an invite-online platform for innovative business executives.
Meredith Perry, CEO and founder, uBeam
uBeam manufactures a wireless charger, among the first of its kind. Before launching her startup, Meredith Perry served as an astrobiology researcher at NASA.
Phillippe von Borries, Co-founder, Refinery29
Von Borries launched Refinery29 out of a kitchen in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2005, along with co-founder Justin Stefano. The fashion media site has raised over $80 million in venture capital to date.
Alexa von Tobel, CEO and founder, LearnVest
Von Tobel's LearnVest is a personal finance resource (initially, it launched for women in particular.) The startup sold itself to Northwestern Mutual for a reported $250 million in March of this year.
Alexis Ohanian, Cofounder, Reddit
Lauded by Forbes as the "mayor of the internet," Ohanian launched Reddit, a social media site, with co-founder Steve Huffman in 2005. Just one year later, Reddit was acquired by Condé Nast, making Ohanian a 23-year old multimillionaire.