Every year, the editors at Forbes feature individuals who are the most innovative in their fields in their 30 Under 30 issue. To date, 50+ EXPLO Alums are among their number. To them, we'd like to offer our most enthusiastic congratulations!
While they are each making an impact in their own unique way, they all share the qualities of modern explorers — the courage, endurance, ability to think big and take action, and courage and conviction to see their vision through.
Art + Style
Sarah Law (2016)
Handbag Designer, KARA
In just three years, Sarah Law has turned a nascent label into a global brand. KARA bags are now carried in 50 different stores in 15 countries around the world. The name KARA, taken from the Japanese word Karaoke, means "empty orchestra."
Seth Priebatsch (2012)
Founder + CEO, SCVNGR
Seth Preibatsch launched his first startup at age 12. He founded the social location-based game SCVNGR and spin-off service LevelUp, later acquired by GrubHub.
Jessica Gartner (2015)
Founder + CEO, Allovue
Jessica Gartner founded Allovue — and its flagship app, Balance — to help schools monitor fiscal waste by tying educational spending to student performance. A former educator in Baltimore, Gartner wants to make sure schools spend their funds where they're needed most.
Ruby Lee (2019)
Co-Founder, Juni Learning
One of the fastest-growing career fields is coding — programming jobs overall are growing 12% faster than the market average. Few students, however, are learning these crucial skills at a young age to set themselves ahead of the pack. That’s where Ruby Lee comes in. She’s aiming to change how coding education happens as the co-founder of Juni Learning, a start-up that provides a full computer science curriculum for students ages 5-18. Teachers work one-on-one or two-on-one with students online to develop their coding skills in several different languages, including Python and Java. Over half of Juni’s instructors are female, and it recently secured an investment from Arielle Zuckerberg (Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s younger sister).
Samantha Pratt (2020)
Samantha Pratt, a 2019 Camelback Ventures fellow, founded KlickEngage “to help all students feel psychologically safe and supported in every environment.” The app allows students to self-report their mental state with a two-minute survey; the teacher dashboard shows the overall classroom mood in real-time and provides an overview of the student responses.
Max Baron (2021)
In early 2019, Max Baron and his friend Dylan Diamond launched Saturn, an app that lets high school students coordinate their calendars, connect with people in their classes, and track events. Saturn is now venture-backed and expanding to schools throughout the country, and the app has been adopted by more than 60,000 students in over 100 schools.
Dakin Sloss (2016)
Monitoring the energy output of the oil and gas industries is a gargantuan task. Dakin Sloss has built a software system that "combines machine learning with physics-based modeling to inform operators how best to engineer their wells—where to drill, how much to drill, and using what method."According to Sloss, his software is already boosting production by 20%, and he's already raised $20 million in venture financing. Since 2013, Tachyus' software has increased the output of 6,350 wells in 13 fields.
Alexander Smith (2021)
Co-founder + CTO, Power For Humanity
While a biomedical engineering PhD student at UMass Amherst, Alexander Smith and fellow researchers were studying a bacteria species called Geobacter, which has hairlike protein nanowires. One day, when a researcher turned off the power supply to some nanowires that were being tested as sensors, an electric current still showed on the meter. Power For Humanity is using its proprietary proteins to create Natural Power Units (NPUs), which could eventually either continuously charge or replace batteries in small portable devices.
Jay Kaplan (2015)
Jay Kaplan is working to help companies squash security threats before they happen. Through Synack, which he co-founded with Mark Kuhr after leaving a position with the NSA's counterterrorism division, Kaplan aims to reduce the cyber threats companies face.
Daniel Kimerling (2015)
Co-founder, Standard Treasury
With Standard Treasury, a startup he founded with Zachary Townsend, EXPLO alum Daniel Kimerling wants to help companies do business. By giving companies the tools they need to streamline their financial services, Standard Treasury helps companies bring their banking needs into the 21st century.
Max Bennett (2017)
A former Goldman Sachs trader,Max Bennett co-founded successful startup Bluecore to make consumer behavioral data more actionable and easier to understand for commerce organizations. With retailers like Nike, Gap, and Staples on their roster of 300+ retailers, Bennett and company have raised nearly $28 million from investors since their launch in 2013.
Eli Nagler (2015)
Associate, Blackstone Group
Eli Nagler has made a name for himself in the world of finance. Forbes has named Nagler as "a top equity professional in the world's biggest buyout firm." Nagler serves on numerous boards, including Viva Capital and Bayview Asset Management (2015)
Joan Payson (2015)
Equity Research Analyst, U.S. Luxury Goods, Barclays
Joan Payson first started making waves when she "made a bearish call" on Michael Kors. Payson is the head of Barclays luxury stock research group.
Anoushka Mehta (2021)
Head of Gender Lens Finance, HSBC
Anoushka Mehta oversees HSBC’s impact investment strategy that aims to close the gender gap, benefit women, and potentially generate returns in the process. She also founded HSBC's 'Coaching Circles', an internal mentorship program now being rolled out globally that gives women the opportunity to develop their skill sets, expand their peer network, and engage in meaningful dialogue with senior management. Mehta is also on the US Exec Committee of BALANCE, HSBC’s Gender Equality group. She was recently included in the INvolve/Yahoo Finance Top 100 Future Female Leader 2020 list and has been named 36th in the 100 Future Women Leaders.
Food + Drink
Adam Belanich (2015)
Co-founder, Joyride Coffee
It began as a food truck. But now, Joyride Coffee, co-founded by Adam Belanich and his brother Noah, is the top distributor of such renowned American coffee roasters as Intelligentsia and Stumptown. Thanks to their love of good coffee, Belanich wants to rid the world of Keurigs and get as many people drinking quality coffee as possible.
Rachel Fineberg (2021)
Along with Breanne Harrison-Pollock, Rachel Fineberg combined luxury fashion with gaming when they co-founded Ateyo to create clothing for gamers. The company has secured collaborations with YouTube Gaming, NZXT, and Evil Geniuses, and also works with charity organizations including Girls Make Games. The pair previously founded DAMNsel, a New York Fashion Week-featured company that was worn by Beyonce.
Ian Cinnamon (2015)
Director of Strategy, Immunity Project
The Immunity Project, a non-profit, is working on developing a free vaccine to eradicate HIV and AIDS. Ian Cinnamon is helping the Immunity Project make that happen by organizing a crowdfunding campaign and winning funding from Y-Combinator, a firm that helps to incubate and nurture startups with seed funding and mentorship.
Samantha Gerson (2020)
Founder + CEO, UnBroken
Samantha Gerson is the founder and CEO of UnBroken, a nonprofit that works with survivors of the Troubled Teen Industry and Institutional Abuse/Conversion Therapy. They connect trained therapists, vocational mentors, and lawyers across the nation to work with traumatized survivors at no cost to them. Their mission? To show survivors that they are unbreakable.
Most kids graduate college and think that they need to know what they will be doing in five years. Don’t focus so much on that. Look for a place that has smart people working there and people who will be invested in your progress. Look to go where you can learn, and have the confidence to fake it until you make it a bit and be ready to learn from the people around you."
— Caitlin Donovan
Law + Policy
Kendall Tucker (2017)
Founder + CEO, Polis
Kendall Tucker's startup Polis has been improving mobile canvassing and in-person analytics for more than 70 organizations — including Governor Gary Johnson's presidential campaign. Tucker has long been involved with the political process, running state legislative campaigns and holding local office prior to launching Polis in October 2015.
Manufacturing + Industry
Jesse Kaplan (2019)
If you live in New York City in a building without a doorman, it can be difficult to make sure you’re home when a package is delivered. That’s why Jesse Kaplan founded Parcel — an e-commerce company that works with online retailers to offer a streamlined experience for customers who need last-minute deliveries to arrive correctly and on time. Parcel was recently acquired by Walmart, who praised the startup as “a proven leader in e-commerce package delivery, including taking fresh, frozen and perishable food the last mile — that is, the last step in the shipping process as products make their way from a fulfillment center to your door.”
Sachin Lal (2020)
Co-founder, Amper Technologies
Sachin Lal co-founded Amper Technologies with the mission to help manufacturers improve efficiency and customer satisfaction using operational data in real-time. Their team is made up of engineers from Boeing, Shure, and other leading technology companies.
Marketing + Advertising
Jon Chang (2019)
Global Product Marketer, IBM Watson
IBM Watson is a cutting-edge artificial intelligence system that understands natural human language. It can be used to create a responsive chatbot for a bank or analyze millions of football plays to assemble the best fantasy team. As a global product marketer for Watson, Jon Chang works on marketing strategy and messaging to expand its use all over the world. He’s also an adjunct programming instructor at New York University, teaches coding at General Assembly, and continues to provide curriculum support and marketing strategy to EXPLO.
Mark Gurman (2015)
Senior Editor, 9to5Mac
Mark Gurman made sure to come into this world with a bang. Born during an earthquake, Gurman began working for 9to5Mac after he located domain names that Apple had registered for its upcoming (and as-yet unannounced) tablets. This was 2009, and Gurman was still in high school.
Kendall Dabaghi (2016)
Co-founder, A Plus
Kendall Dabaghi co-founded A Plus, a positive social media organization, along with Ashton Kutcher and fellow Forbes 30 Under 30 winner Evan Beard. Initially launched in Kutcher's house in April 2014, A Plus employs 31 people and is expecting to bring in $8 million in revenue in 2016.
Amanda Gutterman (2016)
When Amanda Gutterman helped launch Slant — and its 70% revenue share model — she wanted to make sure that talented writers and journalists were actually getting paid for their work. With 2 million unique visits to the site so far, writers are definitely starting to earn their fair share.
Retail + E-Commerce
Caitlin Donovan (2015)
Associate VP, Handbags and Accessories Category, Christie's
Caitlin Donovan built the Handbags and Accessories Category at Christie's, the world's largest auction house, from the ground up. Donovan, 27, is also responsible for widening Christie's audience by selling luxury accessories through an online shopping platform.
Isabelle Kenyon (2015)
Associate VP, Handbags and Accessories Category, Christie's
In her role as an Associate at Burch Creative Capital, Isabelle Kenyon helps bring new creative ventures to light. The most notable projects she's shepherded include BaubleBar, the Fashion Project, C. Wonder, and E.D. by Ellen DeGeneres.
Candace Mitchell (2016)
Co-founder, Techturized, Inc.
With co-founder Chanel Martin — a fellow Black woman engineer and Georgia Tech grad —Candace Mitchell is using technology to revolutionize the $3 billion African-American hair care market. First up: Myvana, a mobile app that's a 'concierge' for black hair care, connecting clients with stylists and encouraging community through photo-sharing and tips.
Gemma Sole (2016)
Co-founder, Nineteenth Amendment
Along with Amanda Curtis, Gemma Sole co-founded the clothing line Nineteenth Amendment, which promises to match emerging designers with shoppers, offering 19-day pre-sales and only producing what sells. The startup, which was part of the first class of New York's Fashion Tech Lab, is sponsored in part by the city.
Eran Hodis (2015)
MD + PhD Student, MIT + Harvard
After his mother was diagnosed with cancer, Eran Hodis switched from studying yeast to studying cancer. Through his efforts, we now know which gene mutations are among the most common across different cancers — and what chemical process transforms those cancer cells into near-immortal beings. Hodis, who now works at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, is lauded for his work as a cancer researcher.
Max Mankin (2016)
Co-founder, Modern Electron
Max Mankin is the founder of Modern Electron, a startup that seeks to overturn 100 years of history in generating electricity, replacing steam turbines with small, modular devices that convert heat to electricity. The company has raised $11 million so far.
Gayatri Datar (2015)
Gayatri Datar, 29, wants to keep people safe from the types of parasitic infections that come from living and walking on dirt floors. EarthEnable's mission is two-fold: install 20,000 floors throughout East Africa by 2019 (101 were installed in Rwanda in 2014), and hire local masons to do the work. Datar was also nominated for a Legacy Prize by the Creativity Foundation.
Anna Stork (2016)
According to Anna Stork, about 1.1 billion people lack access to electricity worldwide — a problem only exacerbated 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.
Noam Angrist (2017)
Founder, Young 1ove
Noam Angrist is a research-loving social entrepreneur whose work has brought him to Botswana where he leads Young 1ove — a nonprofit organization that has provided evidence-based HIV health and education classes to more than 35,000 Botswanan youth. Their flagship program has proven to reduce pregnancy — a proxy for unprotected sex and HIV transmission — by nearly a third.
Amina Yamusah (2019)
Getting your first job out of college can be difficult for anyone, but it’s even harder if you belong to an underrepresented group with limited access to networking opportunities. Amina Yamusah co-founded BLOC just a few years after she graduated from Princeton to reduce the unemployment rate for college graduates of color. BLOC uses algorithmic technology and smart résumé analysis to help prepare black graduates for jobs in the innovation economy. It provides the template for workforce training organizations to launch their own career coaching portals so that job seekers can receive direct advice from career professionals — and then get connected with opportunities all over the country.