These are the faces of the women’s entrepreneurship, which is a growing community of nearly 10 million women-owned businesses. Below find the complete list of the 111 women entrepreneurs on the Forbes 30 Under 30.
2015 was a remarkable year for women in business, and with this year’s release of Forbes 30 Under 30, 2016 looks even more promising. With more women starting, owning, and growing their businesses every day, the trailblazers in Forbes 30 Under 30 come as no surprise.
We combed through the list and found: 200 women rockstars, 111 of which are founders or co-founders. Right now is HER time. Of the 20 sectors represented, women entrepreneurs led their classmates in four categories: Consumer Tech, Retail and E-Commerce, Manufacturing and Industry, and Food and Drink. Meet the women entrepreneurs that are leading Forbes 30 Under 30 in this Buzzfeed Post.
ART & STYLE
Lauren Conrad, 29, Fashion designer, Lauren Conrad
Reality TV star (Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and The Hills) and author Conrad has been a fashion designer since 2011 when she created a fashion and accessories line for Kohl’s. She released a book about her personal style in 2010, and she has a beauty and cosmetics line. Her upscale fashion line is called Paper Crown. She’s also the co-founder of an online store, The Little Market, which distributes handmade pieces made by women.
Zoe Latta, 28, Fashion designer, Eckhaus Latta
Bicoastal designer co-founded fashion label Eckhaus Latta in 2010. Zoe also founded textile design company Prince Ruth, whose clients have included Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, and Calvin Klein.
Natalie Herrera, 29, Ceramicist, High Gloss
Graphic designer turned ceramicist Herrera founded High Gloss in 2013. She uses unconventional tools like a compass, an X-acto knife and a drafting triangle to alter her thrown pieces with geometric forms.
Hayden Lasher, 29, Handbag designer, Hayden Lasher
She founded her company in 2014, making classically shaped leather handbags, decorated with a little bow and designed to match the shoes of her relative’s line Belgian Shoes, a popular brand among the well-healed of Manhattan. Taylor Swift, Chloe Sevigny, and Jamie King are fans.
Alexa Buckley, 24; Sarah Pierson, 23, Shoe designers, Margaux
The two Harvard gradss were inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement speech in 2014 to “take a leap of faith.” A year later they founded Margaux, selling made-to-measure ballet flats through their website.
Madison Maxey, 22, Fashion designer, The Crated
The first fashion designer to be picked as a recipient of the $100,00 Thiel fellowship, Maxey dropped out of Parsons after one semester. In 2013 she founded The Crated, a design and engineering studio that makes clothes that incorporate technology, like a black dress, funded by Google and designed by Zac Posen, infused with multicolored LED lights.
Aim Song, 29, Fashion blogger, Song of Style
While studying interior design in 2008, Song started a fashion blog called Song of Style. She now gets four million page views a month and she’s collaborated with companies like LaCoste and Bloomingdale’s, where she designed a line of bracelets. She also founded an interior design business, Song of Style Design.
Wing Yau, 28, Jewelry designer, WWAKE
A former sculptor and performance artist, Yau founded jewelry studio WWAKE in 2012. WWAKE is in 65 stores worldwide, including New York, Paris, and Tokyo.
Marcela Sapone, 29, CEO and Cofounder, Hello Alfred
This former McKinsey consultant wants to help get our lives in order with Hello Alfred, a tech-savvy butler service priced for common folk. For $32 a week, an “Alfred” will organize your Batcave and manage on-demand services like Handy and Instacart to keep the kitchen sparkling, hamper empty and refrigerator stocked. “We want you to spend your time on the things that really are meaningful to you,” says Sapone, who founded Alfred in 2014 with fellow Harvard Business School alum Jessica Beck. Hello Alfred now operates in Boston and NYC, and has raised $12.5 million from VCs like NEA, Spark Capital and Sherpa Capital. In 2014 Sapone and Beck were the first women to win the coveted TechCrunch Disrupt SF startup competition on the main stage. “Women start businesses that seem cute on the surface, but that’s when you should be really afraid. What we’re doing is really meaningful and is going to change how people live.”
Katelyn O’Shaughnessy, 29, CEO and Founder, TripScope
A graduate of Arizona State University, Katelyn O’Shaughnessy worked as a travel agent before founding TripScope in March 2013. The company, which raised a small seed round in November, provides a platform to connect live travel agents with users. Customized travel itineraries are then sent to users’ smartphones via an app. O’Shaughnessy also serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at Cornell University’ Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship and is national director of Milennials in Travel, the nation’s largest young travel professional’s community.
Polina Raygorodskaya, 29, Cofounder, Wanderu
Polina Raygorodskaya and Igor Brantikov (her cofounder)’s Website Wanderu helps people book North American bus and train travel. Based in Boston, the company has raised about $8 million and works like Kayak.com to offer a user to get from Point A to Point B using cheaper alternatives to flying. Raygorodskaya, a former model and Babson College grad, and Brantikov, a former Boston University law student, got the idea for their company while traveling cross-country for GreenXC, an organization that raises awareness for National Parks. Prior to launching Wanderu, CEO Roydorodskaya ran a fashion and lifestyle public relations firm.
Jessica Scorpio, 28, Founder and Vice President of Marketing, Getaround
Getaround’s mobile app that lets car owners rent their vehicles to other people for hourly rates. Scorpio, dubbed the company’s “rainmaker,” is in charge of marketing. Scorpio started out working in the Canadian government, attending Singularity University and also founded IDEAL, a not-for-profit network for entrepreneurs and young leaders. Getaround has raised $43 million to date and includes prominent backers such as former Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. One of its main rivals, RelayRides, found the short-term economics challenging and switched to days-long rentals, rebranding as Turo.
Jasmine Ng, 28, Sports Agent Adviser, Next Level Combines
Ng is an agent adviser and a journalist who gives athletes media exposure as well as a cofounder of Sportr, an athletic recruitment program dedicated to connecting prospects to recruiters and fans worldwide.
RETAIL & E-Commerce
**Tyler Haney, 27, Founder, Outdoor Voices
Growing up in Boulder, CO, Haney was a jock: she ran cross country, played basketball and considered going to a college where she could compete in track and field. She couldn’t shake an interest in fashion, though, and instead matriculated at New York’s famed Parsons School of Design, where she soon found a way to marry her two interests.
As part of her degree program, she created a five-piece collection of essential activewear and Outdoor Voices was born. So far, the workout apparel company’s minimalist, technical aesthetic and digital-first strategy has earned it over $8 million in venture backing, with its October led by Cambridge, MA-based General Catalyst Partners. Despite high profile investors — including Warby Parker and The Honest Company – Haney says funding didn’t come easy; her team met with, and was turned down by, some 70 investors. Says Haney: “I don’t have experience on my side, but I have persistence.”
Kelechi Anyadiegwu, 26, Founder, Zuvaa
The Nigerian-American entrepreneur, who has a masters in human-computer interaction from Carnege Mellon, became frustrated after being unable to find fashionable African-inspired clothing and accessories, so she created an e-commerce destination for merchants from across the diaspora to sell their wares.
Doreen Bloch, 27, Founder, Poshly
Poshly users enter to win beauty and lifestyle freebies (think Louboutin lipstick or an Apple watch) by asking them to fill out surveys, thus providing data to the companies giving away goods. The company has secured $3m in venture funding.
Kirsten Blowers, 28, Owner, RiffRaff
What was once a furniture storefront in Fayetteville, Ark. is now a robust digital operation, RiffRaff.com, sellling womenswear that’s hip, affordable and southern-tinged (their popular tee shirts are emblazoned with Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas themes).
Shruti Shah, 27, Jenny Morrill, 27, Cofounders, Move Loot
Two of four cofounders that started what Forbes once described as ‘Craiglist meets Uber for furniture’, selling your unwanted goods if they can and giving you half the proceeds and handling pickup and delivery. If they can’t sell it, they’ll deliver it back or you can choose to donate it to charity. They’ve raised over $20m in VC funds on the back of their model.
Amanda Curtis, 28, Gemma Sole, 28, Cofounders, Nineteenth Amendment
The company promises to match emerging designers with shoppers, offering 19 day pre-sales and only producing what sells. The startup was part of the first class of New York’s Fashion Tech Lab, sponsored in part by the city. They’ve also partnered with Macys.com.
Stacey Ferreira, 23, CEO, Forrge
Ferreira dropped out of NYU’s Gallatin School to accept a Thiel Fellowship. She’s the author of a book on millennial entrepreneurs and founded Forrge, a work scheduling tool to match on-demand jobs with workers. This isn’t her first startup foray, having sold a business she started in high school called MySocialCloud to Reputation.com.
Leura Fine, 28, Founder, Laurel & Wolf
The interior designer-turned-entrepreneur is democratizing the pricey, old-fashioned interiors world with an online marketplace offering the best talent to redecorate your pad at a flat fee. The year-old company has raised over $25 million.
Narie Foster, 27, Cofounder, M.M. LaFleur
The systems engineer and former management consultant at Bain & Co. is responsible for product management and operations at M.M. LaFleur, the New York-based e-commerce company outfitting professional women with 4-6 piece ‘Bento boxes’ of stylish clothes.
Megan Grassell, 20, Founder, Yellowberry
Started lingerie company for young girls at age 17 after a frustrating shopping trip with her 13-year-old sister. Yellowberry’s cute, comfortable bras and underwear for teens and tweens has an anti-Victoria’s Secret aesthetic that’s already landed Grassell a collaboration with American Eagle’s intimates offshoot Aerie.
Meg He, 28, Nina Faulhaber, 28, Cofounders, ADAY
The Goldman Sachs M&A alums’ Soho, NY-based activewear startup is equally focused on performance and aesthetic, which means using technology usually seen in garments worn by Olympic athletes but with contemporary fashion finishes suitable for celeb fans like Lupita Nyong’o.
Jessica Hendricks, 27, Founder, The Brave Collection
The Tisch alum was inspired by a stint teaching English in Cambodia, founding a jewelry company selling bracelets and necklaces handmade by Cambodian workers who are disadvantaged or disabled. Most are mothers. 10% of profits from the jewelry, sold online and at boutiques internationally, go to stopping human trafficking.
Jordana Kier, 29, Cofounder, LOLA
Her direct-to-consumer, subscription-based feminine care company launched this year (with cofounder Alexandra Friedman) and has raised $1.2 million in VC backing. Lola tampons are 100% hypoallergenic cotton, without additives, dyes, chemicals or synthetics.
Stephanie Korey, 28, Cofounder, Away
She ran the supply chain at Warby Parker and Casper before going into business with list alum Jen Rubio, recently raising $2.5 million to launch Away, bringing high-end luggage to the mass market.
Candace Mitchell, 27, Cofounder, Techturized, Inc.
With co-founder Chanel Martin– a fellow black woman engineer and Georgia Tech grad — she’s using technology to revolutionize the $3 billion African-Amercan haircare market. First up: Myvana, a mobile app that’s a ‘concierge’ for black haircare, connecting clients with stylists and encouraging community through photo-sharing and tips.
Christine Souffrant, 26, Founder, Vendedy
A recipient of the Gates Foundation’s prestigious Millennium Scholarship, and graduate of Dartmouth College, Haitian-born Souffrant is working to digitize the street market economy, connecting vendors in souks, stalls and bazaars the world over to current and prospective shoppers using SMS and the cloud.
Carly Strife, 29, Cofounder, Bark & Co.
The parent company or Bark Box, a subscription service for man’s best friend (yes, Birchbox for dogs) has raised over $21m in VC funding to date to grow their $19-per-month service, offering treats, grooming products and toys for your pup to your doorstep.
Julie Sygiel, 28, Founder, Dear Kate
Brown U. chemical engineer Sygiel’s leak- and stain-resistant underwear, yoga pants et al aim to free women from the tyranny of garments ruined by their periods. She names collections after pioneering women like first programmer Ada Lovelace; models for that particular campaign were all female tech CEOs.
Whitney Tingle, 29, Danielle DuBoise, 29, Cofounders, Sakara Life
The duo founded Sakara Life, a Blue Apron-like meal delivery program for aspiring Gwyneth Paltrows (think “clean” foods), in 2011. They’e raised just under $4 million to date and found a fashionable fan base thanks to partnerships with SoulCycle, Tata Harper, and — of course – GOOP.
Milagros Barsallo, 28, Cofounder, RISE Colorado
What makes Barsallo’s RISE Colorado bigger than its name-state is its very scalable families-first mission. It is a nonprofit dedicated to closing the educational opportunity gap for low-income and minority students by engaging and empowering their families.
Maggie Dunne, 25, Founder, Lakota Children’s Enrichment
Dunne founded Lakota Children’s Enrichment, a for-purpose nonprofit that empowers youth on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota through the education, sports, arts and mentorship, when she was in high school. Seven years later, she’s still on the reservation, building new partnerships (including Sir Richard Branson) and soliciting hundreds of global volunteers. Dunne, who is trilingual, is a magna cum laude graduate of Colgate University.
Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca, 26, Founder, DREAMers RoadMap
Her business is personal: Salamanca is a former undocumented student from Mexico living in California. After graduating high school, she had no idea how to find the money to go to college: “I felt hopes and singled out.” She’s now launching a scholarship app for the some 2.1 million undocumented students.
Logan Cohen, 25, Cofounder, Kudzoo
Proof that the cart is more effective than the stick when it comes to student achievement. Kudzoo is a mobile app that rewards students for good grades and school attendance with “Kudzoo Cash,” which can be exchanged for gift cards, disocunts at restaurants and stores, and more. With $1.3 million in funding for it’s official 2015 back to school launch, over 375,000 students have downloaded the app.
Rebecca Liebman, 22, Cofounder, LearnLux
Personal finance is not core to the educational curriculum in the US. This gap in the educational system led to LearnLux, free online learning modules that teach “everything from basic banking to compound interest, investing and the difference between a mutual fund and a hedge fund.”
Heejae Lim, 29, Founder, TalkingPoints
Deeper parent engagement can close the achievement gap but what if there’s a language barrier? TalkingPoints solves that problem by connecting teachers and non-English speaking parents via text messages in various languages, keeping families updated on their children’s schooling and providing teachers with content and analytics to help provide meaning information for parents.
Amy Lin, 29, Cofounder, Blendspace
The blended learning company Lin cofounded in 2012, Blendspace, was acquired last year by digital education giant TES Global. Now she leads the product team and oversees a new resource-sharing platform for over 7 million teachers globally.
Jerelyn Rodriguez, 26, Cofounder, The Knowledge House
In 2014, Rodriguez launched the Knowledge House in her home neighborhood, the South Bronx. TKJ is building a STEM education-to-jobs pipeline in underserved neighborhoods, and has served some 300 young people in five program sites.
Carissa Romero, 29, Cofounder, Project for Education Research That Scales
PERTS is a $6.4 million research center out of Stanford University focused on raising students’ test scores and GPAs. Since Romero created PERTS with fellow Stanford grad student Dave Paunesku in 2009, it has created and evaluated hundreds of thousands of scientifically-based mindset interventions that encourage academic achievement for students in schools, colleges and online learning environments.
Cassandra Tognoni, 28, Cofounder, BookReport
Tognoni’s mission statement: “With a clearer picture of your finances today, plan for a brighter tomorrow.” BookReport creates financial reports, dashboards and analysis for school districts so they can make better resource allocation decisions.
Cassie Petrey, 29, Cofounder, Crowd Surf
The Kentucky native cofounded Crowd Surf, a digital marketing company now serving stars from Steven Tyler to Britney Spears, when she was still in college. Today, her company boasts a 35-person team with four offices and a roster of accounts with a combined 800 million followers.
Zoe Quinn, 28, Cofounder, Crash Override Network
Designer of games including “Depression Quest,” Quinn was thrust into the spotlight as a central figure in the “Gamergate” controversy about sexism, ethics and progressive politics in video game culture. Since then she’s founded the victim’s advocates group Crash Override Network and testified about online harassment to the United Nations.
Kristina Shen, 29, Vice President, Bessemer Venture Partners
Shen has worked at Bessemer Venture Partners since 2013, where she co-authors the firm’s annual ‘State of the Cloud Report’ and its ongoing Cloud Index with Byron Deeter. Shen’s a cofounder and boardmember of SpeakEasy and a board observer at ClearCare, DoubleDutch, Instructure, Retail Solutions, ServiceTitan and Vidyard. She also works with the firm’s portfolio companies Adaptive Insights, Gainsight, Pipedrive and Twilio.
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, 23, Founder, MuslimGirl
At 17, Al-Khatahtbeh began MuslimGirl from her bedroom. It now boasts a staff of 10 women, 30+ writers and a new webshow with Teen Vogue that tackles Muslim topics for non-Muslim teens. In 2016, MuslimGirl will launch a monthly subscription box service and is scaling to be the first mainstream network by Muslim women.
Morgan DeBaun, 25, Cofounder, Blavity
More than 40% of millennials are people of color, not seeing their stories told in the mainstream media. Blavity is set on providing a platform just for them. Founded in 2014, the site brings in nearly 1 million visitors a month, the cofounders have also launched extensions like Blavity Life Style.
Kimberly Foster, 26, Founder, For Harriet
Initially launched by Foster when she was an undergrad at Harvard, For Harriet, a online community for women of color, now consists of five web properties. Foster, who is founder and editor-in-chief, also scours the Internet for personal blogs, listen to podcasts and watch YouTube videos to find dynamic black women to work with.
Kate Gardiner, 29, Founder, DSTL
If it’s a media company, Gardiner has probably worked with it. To date, her digital agency DSTL has advised more than 60 media companies, startups and foundations. Among notable successes are the relaunch of Newsweek, now owned by IBT Media; the launch of Al Jazeera’s The Stream; and her work with WNYC.
Amanda Gutterman, 24, Cofounder, Slant
Gutterman’s goal when she helped create Slant’s 70% revenue share model: keep emerging writers from being forced to take on unpaid internships or giving away their work for free. In October Slant brought in over 2 million unique visitors, meaning some writers earned hundreds of dollars.
Anjelica Nwandu, 25, Founder, The Shade Room
Nwandu has revolutionized celebrity gossip with The Shade Room, which the New York Times recently dubbed “the TMZ of Instagram.” The site, which was initially published anonymously only on Instagram, currently boasts 2.5 million followers and pulls in an additional 100,000 followers every 10 days.
Ocean Pleasant, 18, Founder, REAL Magazine
A 2015 Thiel Fellow, Pleasant founded REAL Magazine when she was 17 with the goal of empowering millennials. One year later, she scaled it nationally to over 40 retailers and 150,000 readers. Additionally, she developed REAL app, a social activism app centered on connecting like-minded young people launching in March.
Zim Ugochukwu, 27, Founder, Travel Noire
Ugochukwu launched TravelNoire.com in 2013 after struggling to find images of young black travelers like herself on Instagram. The site now boasts a highly engaged social media presence with more than 180,000 Instagram followers, tools and tips to make traveling easier and a weekly online travel show, Travel Noire TV. Ugochukwu is at the forefront of what is being called the Black Travel Movement.
Julie Zeilinger, 22, Founder, WMC FBomb
Zeilinger launched the FBomb, a blog and community for teen feminists, in 2009. She is the author of two books and has spoken about feminism and related issues on MSNBC, NBC, Fox News, HuffPost Live and at colleges. She currently writes on the subject for Mic.
MANUFACTURING & INDUSTRY
**Jewel Burks, 26, Cofounder, Partpic
An entrepreneur from a family of entrepreneurs, Burks began her career at Google before her grandmother’s breast cancer diagnosis led her to decide to move back home to Atlanta. There, she took a job working at McMaster-Carr, a top U.S. industrial parts distributor. But when it came to hunting down supplies from its stock of 550,000 products, it was a far cry from what she was used to at the search giant. “I was surprised that there was this huge company that was having fails in their technology on a daily basis,” she says. “I wanted to create a better way.” That experience spurred her to create PartPic, which allows customers to use a smartphone to search for a needed part using computer vision technology and order it quickly. She cofounded the company with Jason Crain, another former Googler, who was working at Shazam, along with the help of a few Georgia Tech programmers. The pair has raised $1.5 million to date but their biggest validation was meeting President Obama this summer for the first-ever White House Demo Day.
Sampriti Bhattacharyya, 28, Founder, Hydroswarm
Bhattacharyya is an MIT grad student who has developed underwater drones that are capable of autonomously communicating and working together to scan the ocean to look for lost planes, or measure oil spills or radiation under the sea. Her company, Hydroswarm, won $50,000 in prize money at this year’s MassChallenge.
Rosanna Myers, 28, Cofounder, Carbon Robotics
Myers cofounded Carbon Robotics (the second company of Myers and Dan Corkum), which is building a robotic arm that can be “trained” using machine learning – but costs only as much as a high-end laptop. Carbon Robotics recently graduated from Qualcomm Robotics and is working to go into production in 2016 for over 700 developers.
Nailah Ellis-Brown, 28, Founder, Ellis Island Tropical Tea
Six years ago, she was living in her mother’s basement and selling an old Jamaican family recipe for tea out of the trunk of her car. Then a silent partner put up an investment for a 4,000-square-foot bottling plant in Detroit, and now she’s selling her tea to Whole Foods and other stores in several states.
Grace Hsai, 26, Founder, Warmilu LLC
At Warmilu, Hsia developed technology that provides a safe and controlled heat source, without electricity, that’s used in infant blankets and heat packs for pain sufferers (sales begin in 2016). She’s also a senior project manager for an advanced manufacturing consortium sponsored by the National Science Foundation and based at the University of Michigan.
Francesca Mirri, 28, Co-Owner, DexMat
Mirri and fellow Rice University grad student Dmitri Tsentalovich, formed DexMat in February 2015 to develop lightweight, flexible carbon nanotube fibers for aerospace and other markets. A new project backed by the American Heart Association will test whether nanofibers can be used as sutures to carry electrical signals through damaged heart tissue.
Natalya Brikner, 29, Cofounder, Accion Systems Inc.
Brikner and her cofounder Louis Perna’s, Accion is working to commercialize ion propulsion technology for small satellites using a liquid ionic propellant that is non-toxic and non-explosive. The company has raised $2 million to date and generated $900,000 in revenue this past year and, in the future, are looking to use satellites to collect data and monitor their businesses.
Stefanie Bothelo, 29, CEO and Cofounder, Fitzroy Toys
Stefanie Botelho crafted finger puppets out of felt, glitter, and glue, and sold them to her classmates when she was in fourth grade. Not much has changed. The former investment banking analyst, VC and Harvard Business School grad now helps independent toymakers connect with specialty retailers on her B2B site Fitzroy Toy. The idea originated with a toy-recommendation engine she built in a coding class at HBS. Fitzroy Toys, which launched in 2014, generate revenue through manufacturer’s listing fees.
Colleen Costello, 25, Cofounder, Vital Vio Inc.
Biomedical engineer Colleen Costello co-founded Vital Vio in her senior year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute after her grandmother contracted the MRSA bug during a hospital stay. She and co-founder James Peterson developed a system of LED lights that could kill harmful bacteria without damaging the health of human beings, to provide consistent disinfection in at-risk environments. Costello’s disinfectant lights are being tested and purchased in various health, pharmaceutical, athletic and other public facilities across the U.S such as Mount Sinai Medical Center and UCLA Health.
Christine Spang, 27 Cofounder, Nylas
Spang and fellow MIT alumnus Michael Grinich founded Nylas (formerly known as Inbox), in 2013. Nylas is a platform for app developers that takes care of the underlying infrastructure for handling emails and various protocols, allowing them to focus on building unique features for their apps. Spang, who wrote the core mail synchronization engine for Nylas now runs its platform team, while Grinich is CEO.
Nicole Hu, 25, Cofounder, One Concern, Inc.
Nicole Hu, Ahmad Wani, and Major Timothy E. Frank founded One Concern with the goal of making homes and cities safer in the event of a natural disaster. The startup uses data science and machine learning to assess damage after disasters to make it easier for authorities to respond and provide relief and services. One Concern has raised seed funding from Silicon Valley micro VCs and angels.
Nanxi Liu, 25, CEO and Cofounder, Enplug
A keen cello player, a one-time film producer and current youth advisory board member at the Lady Gaga Foundation, Liu has somehow found time to set up two companies. Nanoly has a patented polymer it claims can keep vaccines working without refrigeration, while Enplug, where she is CEO, provides software for custom digital displays. The latter is used by more than 400 companies, and raised a $2.5 million seed round from investors, including AFSquare and Bill Gross.
Maran Nelson, 24, CEO and Cofounder, Clara Labs
Nelson studied psychology and neuroscience at the University of Texas in Austin. The San Francisco, Calif.-based 24-year-old is CEO and cofounder of Clara Labs, an artificial intelligence startup building a virtual employee. The service currently completes tasks such as scheduling a meeting via email. In 2013, Nelson started Interact, a program that helps young entrepreneurs problem solve and meet investors.
Cristina Fonseca, 28, Cofounder, Talkdesk
Since its founding in October 2011, TalkDesk has experienced 10x revenue growth year-over-year under the leadership of Cristina Fonseca and cofounder Tiago Paiva—making it one of the fastest growing startups in Silicon Valley. It has raised more than $24M over the last two years from Salesforce Ventures, DFJ, Storm Ventures and 500startups.
Liz Wessel, 25, Cofounder, Way Up
CEO Liz Wessel, a former Googler, and CTO JJ Fliegelman, a former McKinsey analyst, cofounded WayUp in 2014 to help connect students with jobs during and after college. WayUp has signed up more than 7,000 companies and hundreds of thousands of students across about 3,000 U.S. colleges. Posting and applying for jobs is free, and employers pay per qualified applicant they receive, starting at a basic rate of $4 per profile. Businesses can get discounts for larger volumes, more IT tools and direct integrations with HR platforms like iCIMS. The YC-backed startup has raised about $9 million from investors such as BoxGroup, General Catalyst Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Index Ventures.
FOOD & DRINK
**Annie Lawless, 28, Cofounder, Suja Juice
Lawless stands atop a brand valued at $300 million – and she did it by focusing on the very foundation of the food pyramid. Suja, the organic juice company she cofounded in 2012, has surged in popularity (and sales, which will hit $70 million this year) thanks to its rejection of added sugar, genetically modified fruit and other manufactured chemical additives. The company’s growth impressed: in August, Coca-Cola bought a 30% stake for $90 million, and Goldman Sachs snapped up an additional 20% for $60 million. The cash infusion will help Suja amp up its production and reach an even wider audience. “There’s a major shift happening that’s way bigger than us,” Lawless says, noting the mainstreaming of the health and wellness sectors — which Lawless will increasingly focus on through her lifestyle brand launch this year.
Alexandra Clark, 27, Founding Chocolatier, Bon Bon Bon
Clark, who has been working in the confectionary industry since she was 14 years old, studied the art of chocolate-making by crisscrossing the globe – but when it came time to open her own shop, she wanted it in no place other than Detroit, her hometown. Bon Bon Bon, which now has three locations across the city, is the first artisan chocolatier to come to Detroit in 40 years.
Maddy Hasulak, 28, Cofounder, Love Grown Foods
Maddy Hasulak and her husband Alex are reinventing breakfast with their company, Love Grown Foods, by offering cereal that is entirely wheat and corn free; instead, it’s made from beans. Their product line also includes granola, hot cereal. Love Grown Foods is in 11,000 stores across the U.S. and Canada, including Kroger, Whole Foods, Fresh Market and even select Target locations.
Anna Hieronimus, 28, Elise Kornack, 29, Co-owners, Take Root
Kornack got her kitchen experience at The Spotted Pig and Acquavit; in 2013, she and Hieronimus opened Take Root. By 2014, the restaurant had earned a Michelin star. In 2015, the two were named to the Zagat 30 Under 30 and Kornack was nominated for a James Beard Rising Star Chef award.
Anjali Kundra, 29, Cofounder, Partender
Through Partender, which digitizes the bar inventory process, Anjali Kundra and broter Nikhil have managed to reduce the time it takes to do a bar inventory from six hours to just 15 minutes. Faster inventory means better bottom lines for bar owners, who estimate they’ve increased their profit by 6% after just 3 months of using Partender.
Maria Littlefield, 28, Cofounder, Owl’s Brew
Littlefield is the cofounder of Owl’s Brew, a company that produces a tea crafted for cocktails. She leads the sales team that has secured spots for its tea in groceries stores including Wegmans, H-E-B and the UK’s Marks and Spencer. Littlefield also released a book last year on crafting cocktails using tea.
Sophie Milrom, 28, Founder, EatPops
Frustrated by the void of healthy juice pops while studying for the bar exam in 2013, Milrom launched Eat Pops–which uses ingredients like kale, beets, and ginger and turns them into a dessert–in 2014. The pops are now in 300 stores across the northeast, in places like Fairway and Whole Foods; they’re also distributed by Amazon Fresh and Fresh Direct.
Samantha Taranto, 22, Cofounder, Tembo Education
Hult Prize finalists, Tembo Education, Taranto and her four fellow cofounders, brings early childhood learning into the homes of thousands of families in developing countries. Parents and caregivers receive text message instructions and quizzes about early childhood education, and they get a “home educator” – trained community members certified to visit the household and teach young children.
Audrey Cheng, 22, Cofounder, Moringa School
Moringa School is bringing courses like front-end web development and user interface and experience design to students in Nairobi, Kenya. Since they launched in 2014, they’ve graduated over 250 students from the school. Many have gone on to lucrative jobs at companies like Kytabu and Intellisost.
Alison Dorsey, 29, Senior Manager of City and State Programs, LinkedIn
Alison founded two social startups before joining LinkedIn to form a social impact team. There, she built a program that’s helped over 100,000 veterans find work, a marketplace that’s connected over 7 million professionals with volunteer opportunities, and now, she’s developing an initiative that will help train workers for jobs.
Alexandria Lafci, 26, Cofounder, New Story
Founded by Lafci and two colleagues Brett Hagler and Matthew Marshall, New Story collaborates with local partners to build homes for families in developing countries. So far, they’ve built 151 houses in Haiti. New Story takes pride in transparency – individuals see where every dollar they donate goes. It’s paying off; New Story received over $1.2 million in donations since last year.
Amara Humphry, 28, Cofounder, Gooru
Think of Gooru as a GPS for learning: The organization utilizes big data and crowdsourcing to make sure students get the proper education. Through web-connected devices and real-time information, pupils see their progress in a lesson and are directed to the next steps.
Catherine Mahugu, 27, Founder, Soko
Soko connects nearly 1000 sub-Saharan artisans’ jewelry with the world while providing them a sustainable income. Within two months of starting work, the artisan’s incomes increase by four times. Soko sells their products online and in-store at retailers like Nordstrom and Anthropologie.
Anisa Mirza, 28, Cofounder, Giveffect
Giveffect builds software that does the busywork for nonprofits, offering platforms to help with anything from volunteer onboarding to fundraising. As a graduate of Y Combinator’s Winter 2015 class, they’ve scored big clients like Habitat for Humanity, United Way and Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
Nedgine Paul, 29, Cofounder, Anseye Pou Ayiti
Forty-three percent of the Haitian population is under the age of 15. That’s why Haitian-born Nedgine Paul has created a company that works to raise the education outcomes in disadvantaged areas of the country by recruiting and training local teachers for existing schools.
Morgan Snyder, 22, Cofounder, Sweet Bites
Sweet Bites is democratizing dental health among kids with a piece of gum. The Hult Prize finalists Snyder and Spencer Penn provide 100% xylitol (a sugar substitute) chewing gum is distributed to kids in urban slums via school feeding programs and for sale in corner stores to fight cavities and promote long-term dental health.
Anna Stork, 29, Cofounder, LuminAID
About 1.1 billion people lack electricity access, a problem worsened by natural disasters. Partnering with clients like Doctors Without Borders, LuminAID’s solar-powered packs inflate into portable lights, and are used in relief efforts after tragedies like the Nepalese earthquake. They’re also popular with individual customers for camping and first aid.
Sophia Sunwoo, 28, Cofounder, Water Collective
Water Collective aims to bring long-lasting, clean water to rural communities in Africa and India. The organization does this by creating solutions for the particular water crisis and using in-country engineers to work on the designated areas. The organization also teaches the community how to maintain water independence.
Maria Vertkin, 29, Founder, Found in Translation
Interpreting is one of the fastest-growing fields in the U.S. Found In Translation helps homeless and low-income multilingual women in Boston use their language skills in the healthcare workforce. The organization does this through medical interpreter certificate training and job placement.
Ann Wang, 24, Jessica Willison, 24, Cofounders, Enrou
Enrou is an online marketplace where customers can purchase products that are made in the U.S. and developing communities around the world. The company creates jobs and also links artisans with local organizations that provide training and educations. Buyers are introduced to creators via stories that accompany the goods.
Rose Wang, 24, Laura D’Asaro, 25, Cofounders, Six Foods
Chirps are chips made from crickets, and have three times more protein and 40% less fat than a tortilla chip than a regular chip. It’s also sustainable: crickets needs less water and feed than cows, another primary source of protein in the world.
LAW & POLICY
Kendall Turner, 29, Cofounder, Proyecto Villa Nueva
Kendall Turner recently completed a clerkship with Associate Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court, during a term in which she wrote several major opinions spanning topics from pregnancy discrimination to free speech to the death penalty. She is currently writing a book about money management for women in their 20s and 30s before she starts as an associate at the law firm Jenner & Block. She has written several legal articles and contributed to a book about the criminal law of Bhutan. She also founded Proyecto Villa Nueva, a nonprofit in Honduras focused on educating children in marginal urban barrios in Tegucigalpa.
Sarah Guthals, 27, Cofounder, ThoughtSTEM
Guthals is a cofounder of ThoughtSTEM, a company geared towards teaching kids how to program. She’s also an education researcher, and has published several papers in the field, with a focus both on the best methods to teach computer science as well as methods for providing support for students when teachers can’t.
MARKETING & ADVERTISING
Alex Daly, 28, Founder, Vann Alexandra
For two years, managing clients’ crowdfunding campaigns was Daly’s nights-and-weekends job. Then in 2014, she finally decided to make it her full-time gig and incorporated creative services agency Vann Alexandra. Her team of three serves 40 clients.
Anda Gansca, 27, Cofounder, Knotch
In 2012, Gansca founded Knotch, a content marketing company that measures the success of content to help marketers optimize reach. With backing from angel investors like former Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn and institutional investors like Allen & Co., she has raised $14 million. Knotch, which employs 10, saw $200,000 in revenue this year and expects $8 million in 2016.
Kelsey Meyer, 27, Cofounder, Influence & Co.
Just one day after graduating from the University of Missouri in 2011, Meyer cofounded Influence & Co. Little did she know, five years later her content-marketing agency would be valued at $13 million. Meyer, along with 55 full-time employees, has served more than 180 clients and is expected to bring in $7 million in revenue in 2016.
Loren Rochelle, 28, Cofounder, Not Ordinary Media
Cofounded Not Ordinary Media, which provides cross-platform video-content distribution for advertisers, in 2014 with no outside funding, and counts GE, Lowe’s, Pernod Ricard, Monrovia Horticulture and Callaway as clients. Expects more than $2 million in revenue in 2016. Rochelle also founded Taking the Lead, a group promoting female leadership in advertising, in 2014.
Paris Rouzati, 25, Head of Marketing, about.me
Rouzati currently manages all marketing at about.me, provider of personal web pages. Her expertise includes product promotion through storytelling, social media, email marketing, app-store marketing and strategic partnerships. Specializes in Millennial and Gen Z user behavior. Cofounded Sweet Lemon, a digital lifestyle magazine for Millennial women, while in college; its audience grew to more than 200,000.
Wei Chien, 29, CEO, Observ Commodities
Observ’s software deciphers the cost of transporting natural gas across North America. It is used by natural gas buyers and traders to gain better insights on market movements. Prior to founding Observ Commodities, Wei was a product manager at Genscape and a gas fundamentals analyst at Barclays.
Teasha Feldman-Fitzthum, 24, Cofounder, EverVest
EverVest provides advanced software for analyzing, valuing, and financing renewable energy projects. The company got its start when Teasha, a researcher at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, invented a machine-learning algorithm to better predict wind resources at a project.
Courtney Gras, 26, Cofounder, Design Flux Technologies
Design Flux has created the world’s first software-defined power management system. Called Cognicell, it is a chip that is installed in a battery pack that can control battery charging, power inversion, management, and fault isolation in a single software-based solution. This eliminates the need for traditional battery chargers, motor controllers, and battery management technology.
Elena Lucas, 27, Cofounder, Utility API
UtilityAPI’s software automates the process of pulling energy consumption and billing data from electric utilities’ computer system. That makes it easier for solar installers to estimate potential costs and savings for customers and to tell how much energy and money a home is saving after solar panels have been installed. The company has so far received $1.8 million in funding including from the U.S. Dept. of Energy SunShot initiative.
Emily Woods, 28, Cofounder, Sanivation
Sanivation has developed the first method for solar treatment of human waste. In 2012, Woods relocated to Kenya as a Sanitation Engineer. She designed methodology for converting human feces into sustainable solid fuel and piloted a complete cycle sanitation model at a refugee camp. She’s raised over $500,000 in grants for expanding Sanivation’s services in Kenya.
Katherine Jin, 21, Cofounder, Kinnos
Healthcare workers in Liberia were among those most likely to contract Ebola. That inspired a trio of Columbia undergrads – Jin, Kevin Tyan, and Jason Kang – to come up with a new protection: a disinfectant that is colored, so doctors and nurses can be sure every surface is coated, and that fades away when the germs should be all gone.
Duygu Kayaman, 26, Founder, Hayal Ortağım
As a toddler in Istanbul, Kayaman lost her vision to an optic nerve tumor. Now she has led a team that has developed an app for blind people in Turkey that uses text-to-speech technology to read everything from books to chess lessons.
Shang Song, 27, Cofounder, Rynm
A grad student in a joint UCSF-UC Berkeley program, Song is also developing a tool to bring Big Data to small economies. Rynm will collect chronic-disease data from patients in the developing world, compare input to what established guidelines say and use the data to draw pictures of a whole community’s health.