Latest posts by Hussain Fakhruddin (see all)
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If your idea of a successful CEO is a portly figure with receding hairline, wrinkled forehead and a bit of graying around the temples, you won’t be far off. The average age of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies is 58* – and more than 50% of CEOs across the world are at least in their 50s. This, however, does not indicate that success for CEOs comes only with advancing age. Here are 20 young, under-30 CEOs who have made a mark in the field of business in 2016:
Jack Cator (26)
What would you do if your school does not allow you enjoy web videos or play games online? You look for a reliable virtual private network (VPN) service, right? That was precisely the motivation that drove Cator towards building his very own VPN – hilariously named ‘Hide My Ass!’. The service was wholly owned by Privax, of which Cator was the founder CEO. In 2016, Privax was acquired by AVG Technologies for a cool $40 million. Talk about ‘inspired ideas’!
David Karp (28)
Karp created and launched popular microblogging portal Tumblr at the ripe old age of…20. From being just another model for J.Crew, he managed to get on the fast track to professional success – and by the start of this year, his net worth had climbed northwards of $200 million. The Tumblr CEO is certainly an inspiring figure in his own right.
Brian Rudolph (25)
The man loves chickpeas – and it’s this love that led him to starting food startup Banza, together with his brother Scott (right from their own apartment too!). The company, which makes pasta with chickpeas instead of wheat (thereby making one of America’s favourite snacks more nutritious), was founded in 2014 – and it grew by a jaw-dropping 1500% last year. Now that IS some serious success!
Stefanie Botelho (29)
While in fourth grade, Stefanie started making cool finger puppets with glue, glitter and felt. During her stint at Harvard Business School, she went on to create an automated toy-recommendation machine, and is currently the owner of the Fitzroy Toys website. Through Fitzroy Toys (which operates as a B2B portal), retailers can get in touch with independent toymakers, with revenue being generated through transaction fees. For Stefanie, being creative from a young age has proved mighty rewarding!
Evan Spiegel (25)
A college dropout – Spiegel did not let the lack of formal degrees clout his vision in any way. By 23, he had made a name for himself as the enthusiastic CEO of instant messaging tool Snapchat. Spiegel even managed to ward off a $3 million buyout proposal for his company from Facebook – and that speaks highly about two things: a) the man’s confidence, and b) his financial strength.
Tarun Gangwani (27)
An IBM employee since 2013, Tarun’s was the brains behind Bluemix – the $1 billion cloud developer platform of the company. Incidentally, Bluemix is, at present, the biggest Cloud Foundry development service as well. The product development teams of IBM Cloud are headed by Gangwani – a remarkable feat considering his age and the fact that IBM Cloud is valued at a whopping $9 billion. One of the brightest among IBM’s First Wave of Designers, that’s for sure.
Dan Teran (26)
A Johns Hopkins graduate, Teran was a product designer at Prehype, before becoming the founder and CEO of Managed By Q – the office management dashboard service that gave him instant recognition among the business elite. Through 3 rounds of funding, Teran managed to raise a whopping $17.4 million for his company. A large number of offices in Chicago, New York and San Francisco feature among the clientele of Managed By Q.
Maran Nelson (24)
The former neuroscience and psychology student applied his education to good effect, while setting up Clara Labs. The company is all about creating a virtual employee with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. And that’s not all Nelson has to show off in her list of achievements either. Apart from being the CEO of Clara Labs, she is the founder of Interact ATX (launched in 2013) – a service that helps young entrepreneurs connect with prospective investors.
Jessica Hendricks (27)
Business with a humane touch, that’s what Hendricks’ jewelry company – The Brave Collection – excels in. The young CEO oversees necklaces and bracelets created by Cambodian workers – many of whom are either underprivileged and/or physically challenged. The products are sold to boutiques around the world as well as online. What’s more, 10% of the sale proceeds is set aside to counter human trafficking. Hendricks has proven herself to be a true new-age CEO.
Eric Duffy (27)
Being the CEO of online social networking software Pathgater (which facilitates on-the-job training for employees and also has a rewards scheme) is not the only claim to fame for Duffy. Before creating Pathgater, he had successfully built a water-retention design – during his time as a teacher in South Africa and China. The man is in the news in 2016, with Pathgater roping in biggies like Walmart, Twitter and Qualcomm in its clientele.
Nanxi Liu (25)
The young lady has already proved that she enjoys, and is actually a master of, multitasking. She produced a movie (‘A Place Called Hollywood’) in 2015, plays the cello, is a prominent board figure at the Lady Gaga Foundation – and is also the CEO of Enplug, a company that develops custom digital display software. A total investment of $2.5 million and a global user-base of 400+ companies tell their own story about the success of Enplug. Liu is also the head of Nanoly – a polymer that can preserves vaccines without refrigeration.
Carly Strife (29)
The co-founder of Bark & Co. has delivered quite a range of delightful services for all the pet-lovers out there. The very first, and still the primary, product of Strife’s company is BarkBox – which delivers dog toys and pet treats to owners on a monthly basis. Apart from that, Bark & Co. has several other services, like BarkShop (a subscription-free online portal for buying all types of dog accessories), BarkPost (dog news and videos) and BarkLive (official sponsor of many live dog-related events). Bark & Co. has already shipped in excess of 20 million dog products, putting Carly Strife in the top bracket of young entrepreneurs.
Christian Owens (21)
Speaking about young achievers, they don’t come much younger than Owens – who had his own company (Mac Bundle Box) when he was only 14! Cut to two years later, and he had already become a millionaire, and had launched an online pay-per-click ad company called Branchr. Following its success, Owens created Paddle, which makes software development kits (SDKs) for app developers. The key services of the SDK are analytics monitoring, payment processing and generating app feedback. Oh, and the man behind these multiple successes is a school dropout!
Robert Lee (27)
Are you familiar with ‘Little Bobby’ – a technology and security-related comic strip? Even if you aren’t, you should know about its creator, Robert Lee – one of the brightest under-30 CEOs of 2016. An eminent cyberdefense expert and a researcher/teacher at SANS Institute, Lee is the co-founder of Dragos, which monitors networked assets and provides superior industrial control system protection solutions. He is also a PhD candidate at King’s College (London). One of the biggest names in the field of cyber security at present.
Daniel Fine (22)
Fine completed his graduation from Wharton in the summer of 2015. While most young men try to pick their careers at that stage, Fine was already an established entrepreneur. He founded Glass-U – a range of fully foldable sunglasses – in 2012, and it has already been licensed to all the leading universities and sororities in the United States. What’s more, Fine’s Glass-U was an official licensee at 2014’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the Lollapalooza musical event. As a CEO, Fine is indeed doing ‘fine’!
B. Byrne (25)
A major password glitch in LinkedIn got Byrne thinking, when he was a student at Pomona College. The upshot was the creation of Clef – a secure two-factor authentication system – that does away with the traditional system of usernames and passwords. Paxful and Bitfinex are two Bitcoin exchanges out of the 120000-odd companies that have already switched over to Clef authentication. The software is a roaring success, and so is its CEO.
Harli Jordean (13)
All hail the youngest CEO in the world – Harli Jordean, the man (or should we say kid?) behind Land Of Marbles, an online ecommerce portal for buying marbles. The business was launched when Harli was all of 8 years old, and it is a classic example of the fact that exclusivity is the single-most important factor for business success. Marbles are fairly commonplace items – but they were not being offered like the way Land Of Marbles does – and therein lies its secret to popularity. Well played, little Harli!
Ian Crosby (29)
No one likes accounting and bookkeeping, right? In 2010, Crosby took his stand to make things easier for startup owners, with his Bench service – which combines human workforce and powerful software to create financial statements and reports, prepare tax planning solutions and manage expense tracking. Crosby is also a member of TechStars in 2012, and he believes that, in a decade’s time the outlook towards accounting will change among people.
Andrew Flachner (27)
RealScout, the company that Flachner founded in 2012, accounted for as much as 15% of the total volume of real estate transactions in San Francisco, in November 2015. That should give you a fair idea of how rapidly the home search platform service for professional real estate agents has grown within a short span of time. Prior to entering the big league with RealScout, Flachner had cofounded a real estate syndication agency as well as a health food vending machine firm. Plenty of experience for a man who is yet to hit 30!
Noah Kraft (28)
At this year’s Annual Telluride Film Festival, a biographical boxing flick – called ‘Bleed For This’ – had its world premiere. One of the producers of the film is Noah Kraft – better known as the co-founder of Doppler Labs (started in 2013). The mobile app for Doppler looks to change music-listening on wearable devices totally. Kraft believes that curating a user’s audio environment by a small percentage can help him/her enjoy a better listening experience, and avoid hearing problems. The sound-processing earbuds of Doppler Labs have been a huge hit – with more than 20000 units being reported sold at the end of January 2016. Clearly, this music-lover knows his product well.
Alan Schaaf (28) – the founder of mobile-first image-sharing site Imgur, and Scott Clark (29) – the CEO of website/app optimization software company SigOpt are two other names that should feature in any ‘top under-30 CEOs’ list. Pete Cashmore, now at the age of 30, is another young achiever – having founded Mashable at the age of 19. Experience matters when you take the plunge to become a CEO – but these people, with their vision, drive and sheer ambition – have proved that success can come at a young age too.
*source –> http://fortune.com/2016/06/14/here-are-the-5-youngest-ceos-of-the-fortune-500/