Andrew Levy: Pushing Performance in Mobile Apps

Andrew Levy, co-founder of Crittercism, has plenty of experience as entrepreneur and team leader before he started his latest venture. Before co-founding Crittercism on 2011, he was also the co-founder of a Y Combinator company, AdThrow, which made a data processing pipeline for real-time targeting and advertisement.

He was also a team leader at HP Software where his teams specialized in agile programming methodologies as well as in the promotion of rapid product iterations. He worked for several companies in the intelligence and defense sectors including Northrop Grumman, Silicon Graphics Federal, and Computer Sciences Corporation.

Levy has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the Johns Hopkins University.

Crittercism is increasingly being known for its mobile application performance management (mAPM) solution, which enables organizations to accelerate the growth of their mobile businesses. The solution provides its users with the features and functions necessary to monitor all areas of mobile app performance and to secure a real-time view of the transaction metrics across several platforms.

Max Lynch: Getting Open Source to the Next Level

Max Lynch, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Drifty, likes to experiment with different business models and funding styles, as well as build products. His passion for technology and innovation contributed to his co-founding of Drifty with Ben Sperry, his childhood friend and Drifty’s Chief Technology Officer, in 2012.

Lynch’s background included the design and development of MMORPG games. With Sperry, he soon realized the big business opportunity in the development of a cross-mobile platform. The platform would allow experienced web developers to leverage their expertise in using technologies, such as CSS, HTML, and AngularJS, to build native mobile applications.

And thus Drifty was born. The company makes it possible for web developers to effectively build and publish their native mobile applications, which can then be published in Apple’s iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon’s Appstore, among other major app stores.

Drifty continues to experience impressive growth. In 2014, Arthur Ventures provided Drifty with a $1 million seed fund. In 2015, Drifty raised $2.6 million in additional seed funding led by Lightbank in Chicago with other participants like Founder Collective in Cambridge and Arthur Ventures also in on the round. The new funding comes at the heels of Drifty’s significant increase in the number of developers using its platform, including Fortune 50 enterprises.

Since its launch of its Ionic Open Source Mobile SDK, Drifty’s developers have created over 500,000 apps with probably tens of thousands published to the major mobile app stores. It has also gained more than 15,000 stars on GitHub as well as become a leading project worldwide, according to Lynch. The open source project is also installed more than 100,000 times in a month- and counting.

Drifty is still in its pre-revenue stage because it plans to create a unique open-source model, which will remain free including the feature that allows developers to build, test and publish their mobile apps. But with the planned additional freemium services, Lynch plans to make money from the project.

Taso Du Val: Connecting Top-tier Professionals With Businesses

Taso Du Val, the co-founder and CEO of Toptal, is an avid student of all things related to engineering and he has found his calling with his company. Co-founded in 2010 by Du Val and Breanden Beneschott, Toptal is a technology start-up that connects its worldwide network of top-tier software developers and engineers with companies that want to tap their services.

The company uses an effective and efficient screening process whereby freelancers are evaluated for their suitability to the projects. Toptal has approximately 3% acceptance rate for applicants while its over 2,000 clients include major companies, such as JP Morgan Chase, Pfizer, Airbnb, IDEO, Rand McNally, and Axel Springer. Even its investors read like the who’s who of the investment industry, such as Adam D’Angelo of Quora, Andreessen Horowitz, and Ryan Rockefeller.

Toptal is definitely on top of its game, thanks in part to its customized matches between clients and freelancers. With a projected revenue of $100 million in 2015, Du Val and his team are on the right track.

Maisie Devine and Isaac Rothenbaum: “Lazy People” Are Their Target

Maisie Devine and Isaac Rothenbaum created what many considered as a job-hunting site for “lazy people” – Poacht – although it’s not as negative as it sounds. The duo built an online service that allows job seekers to discreetly yet directly inform prospective employers about their employment requirements upfront, such as desired salary, benefits, and corporate culture. The online service also works for the employers’ benefit because of the opportunity to gather information on shortlisted applicants that meet job-related criteria.

The result: The Poacht acts as an experienced personal recruiter that connects prospective employers and employees in an aggressive yet effective manner. When a match is made among the thousands of job application, the interested employers can then reach out to them via mobile means.

Devine and Rothenbaum has, indeed, re-engineered the hiring process with their Poacht platform. Both parties in the hiring loop will find it more discreet, more cost-efficient, and more results-effective in making the connections, thanks partly to fuzzy logic.

The duo and their team have developed a covert job search application with a sophisticated proprietary algorithm, which matches job hunters with open jobs via fuzzy logic. The algorithm can sort through thousands of job candidates on order to make as close a match as possible to the job description including the skills needed.

And the formula is successful. In its first 6 months, Poacht attracted over 250 employers including several Global 2000 companies and posted job listings by the thousands.

Maisie Devine majored in art history at Princeton University and was part of its women’s lacrosse team. She once attended a lecture by Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour, and became interested in entrepreneurship.

Isaac Rothenbaum has a Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science and graphic design from Carthage College as well as a Master of Science degree in software engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Leigh Drogen: Accidental Entrepreneur Getting Great Results

Leigh Drogen takes pride in his being a two-time accidental entrepreneur and in his passion for behavioral economics. He founded Estimize, touted to be the world’s first open financial estimates platform. Basically, the company allows independent analysts as well as buy-side, sell-side analysts a platform for publishing their forecasts of the fundamental metrics of publicly-traded companies. With a wide range of contributors adding their points of view to the discussion, readers and users will have a more representative and accurate data set to work on.

The platform is increasingly becoming popular on Wall Street because of its innovative approach for getting estimates on key data points for financial earnings releases. The analysts as well as private investors come together, so to speak, in getting more precise fundamental metrics – truly, a boon for investors.

Drogen began his professional career as a quantitative analyst. He ran long/short absolute return models with focus on earnings acceleration, momentum, and characteristics of analyst estimate revisions, among others.

Sam Barnett: Innovative Uses of Math and Science for Investments

Sam Barnett certainly uses his part-mathematician, part-scientist in finding the best investments for his clients. While he was still an undergraduate student at California Institute of Technology, he started his hedge fund as a way to test his investment theories.

He designed and developed his algorithm-based training expertise while at Caltech but unlike many successful entrepreneurs, he completed his studies. He graduated with honors from Caltech with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics as well as a bachelor of Science in Business Economics and Management, both of which he now puts to good use in the SBB Research Group and in Barnett Capital. He is also presently a graduate student at Northwestern University.

His quaint hedge fund has since conquered the investment industry in its own way. He now manages its $115 million in assets and 15 employees while enjoying solid returns from his investment firm.

Barnett is also a principal specifically the Chief Investment Officer at Barnett Capital. He oversees and manages the firm’s investments using a data metric standpoint, his specialty, while also crafting the firm’s vision of operations. With his team, he manages over $100 million in investments using the trade algorithms they have designed and developed.

His investment focus: Debt, publicly traded equities, currencies, and derivatives. His team of technology specialists at SBB Research Group provides expert assistance to Barnett Capital in several ways including technological data, deal analysis, and general technology support, among others.

The SBB Research Group uses complex algorithm trading software coupled with expert advice in picking the best (i.e., high-reward) investments for its clients. The company is an early-stage research and investment management firm known for its effective and efficient use of asset management strategies. Its profitable management of assets totaling $150 million is proof of its success in this area.

Garrett Neiman: Helping Low-Income Students Is His Passion

Garrett Neiman, founder of and CEO of CollegeSpring, made it his mission to lend low-income students with a helping hand particularly in achieving higher SAT scores and better chances at college acceptance. He started the non-profit organization as a sophomore economics student at Stanford University but he probably did not envision its impressive growth

Nowadays, CollegeSpring is considered as the largest non-profit provider of services in SAT and college preparation for low-income students in California. Since its inception, the organization has assisted over 7,000 students while its staff complement has grown to hundreds of part-time employees and 25 full-time employees.

Basically, experienced educators and mentors are mobilized by CollegeSpring to provide high school students with low-income backgrounds to prepare for the SAT and college acceptance process. The students are then provided with better chances at actually getting into their desired colleges and universities, thus, improving their future outlook.

CollegeSpring has the financial backing of many of the world’s major philanthropic organizations including The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, The Heckscher Foundation for Children, and The Kresge Foundation, as well as several prominent people.

Joyce Meng and Jennifer Chen: Turning Giving Into A Social Enterprise

Joyce Meng and Jennifer Chen, co-founders of Givology, are living proof that anybody with the vision and dedication can make a global impact through social enterprise. The partners run Givology, a completely volunteer-run group that makes giving a hip activity.

Givology basically connects two stakeholders in the charitable industry – the donors and the beneficiaries albeit in an innovative, effective and efficient way than just getting donations and handing out grants. The group connects donors on one hand with individuals, groups and organizations involved in grassroots education programs and in student scholarships worldwide.

Chen and Meng started Givology as students at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. The partners have steered the group into a world-recognized non-profit organization involved in various education-related programs and projects. These include teacher training, library construction, and school lunches as well as student scholarships in more than 25 countries.

The pair are also co-authors of “A Guide to Giving”, which was also a collective writing effort of Givology volunteers.

Cheng and Meng emphasize accountability and transparency of the donations made via its website. The duo also emphasizes using every dollar given for maximum social impact.

Since its launch, Givology has raised over $300,000 – and counting since donors continue to give – and helped over 2,800 students and 46 grassroots organizations. It now has 9o volunteers worldwide, 300 core team members, and 11 global chapters as well as over 2,600 registered donors – truly, a testament to its founders’ dedication to make giving for a social impact a noble endeavour among its registered donors.

Due to its innovative platform of philanthropic crowd-sourcing, Givology has been awarded with numerous recognitions. These include the Intelius Award for Best Student-run Social Enterprise; Education Without Borders’ Technology in Education award; and GreatNonprofits’ Top Education Non-profit award as well as being featured in several publications including Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ben Simon: Fighting Food Waste and Hunger Is His Passion

Ben Simon hates wasting good food when there are millions of people suffering from hunger even in the United States. As the founder and Executive Director of the Food Recovery Network, he is both inspired and an inspiration to the non-profit organization’s amazing network of student leaders who work tirelessly toward building a just, sustainable and prosperous society where no one goes hungry.

Established in July 2011, the Food Recovery Network is a student-run non-profit organization dedicated to fighting food waste and hunger in the United States. By uniting college students from several universities across America, it recovers surplus perishable food from various sources including their campuses as well as the surrounding homes and communities. These food sources would have otherwise gone to waste but are donated to people in need.

Simon has been active in other socially responsible endeavors, too. He is the founder of MyMaryland.net, a non-partisan, non-profit website dedicated to connecting Maryland elected officials and their constituents. He was also involved with the Hungry Harvest, a start-up that sells produce at low prices and then donates a bag of products for each bag sold.

Veronika Scott Empowers Homeless Women

Veronika Scott’s social entrepreneurship idea was born of a class assignment where she was required to design a product to fill a social need. For five months, she worked with Detroit’s homeless community particularly with people at a local homeless shelter on a heat-trapping jacket; it was also designed to transform into waterproof self-heated sleeping bag. Even after the end of the semester, she continued to collaborate with the homeless community in creating other prototypes as well as in improving the design and quality of the heat-trapping jacket.

And thus was born The Empowerment Plan, a non-profit organization that hires and trains homeless women in becoming full-time seamstresses. The homeless women make the jackets, among other products, which are then given to homeless people free of charge.

The Empowerment Plan is unique in many ways. Its strategy highlights the crucial importance of empowering women with practical knowledge and skills, thus, helping them overcome poverty and regaining financial independence. Its approach has garnered for it several national and international recognitions that, in turn, has contributed to its success in gaining investors including Dan Gilbert, Sara Blakely, and Madonna, among others.

Scott, The Empowerment Plan’s founder and CEO, is also in charge of other several critical aspects of its operations. She oversees the design work, sustainability planning, and business development as well as its spokesperson. She also hopes to launch a more effective buy-one, give-one model (i.e., buy one jacket, give one jacket to a homeless person) as well as more for-profit products, which will ensure organizational sustainability.

For her part, Scott has been recognized with various awards. She is the youngest awardee of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s JFK New Frontier Award as well as an awardee of the IDSA: IDEA Gold Award from the Industrial Design Society of America.