Dave Fowler is the CEO of Chartio, a company he co-founded with Justin Davis. Chartio simplifies the way people look at and approach data. Their product allows anyone to create charts by dragging and dropping columns and tables into a chart creator and employing several useful tools built in to the software. His achievements in the tech startup industry have earned him a spot on Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Technology for two years in a row.
Before Chartio, Fowler worked at IBM as part of the team that worked on the microprocessor for Microsoft’s Xbox 360. It was during his stay there that he became the primary on 10 of the company’s patents. He learned to program at the age of 11 when his mother decided to teach him this skill. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a triple degree including one in Physics. He also received a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.
The world of point of sales systems has been dominated by large companies that use bulky machines and backend servers which cost an arm and a leg just to maintain, making it difficult for smaller merchants to keep up with the cost. That was until Lisa Falzone came along.
Falzone co-founded Revel Systems in 2010 with Chris Ciabarra. Revel was originally intended to be an online ordering application, but while in the process of selling the product to restaurants in Sausalito, the pair had a major realization. Their target market needed something more urgently than app that allows people to order online. They needed an upgraded version of the bulky, archaic, and expensive to maintain point of sales systems they are using. They quickly went back to the drawing board to rethink their strategy. What they came up with was a sleeker, more comprehensive point of sales system using the then newly released iPad which they found a way to connect to a printer, a card swipe machine and a cash drawer. They also developed their own software platform to complete the package.
As CEO of the company, Falzone was able to make the company profitable just a year after it was launched, selling hundreds of millions of units to small merchants and big retailers and restaurant chains. Some of their most notable clients are Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Griffin Technology, Belkin, and Goodwill. Also, since the company was founded, she was able to expand the business which now employs over 250 people from all over the world. Her success has attracted recognition from some of the big names in business media including the San Francisco Business Times (40 under 40), Forbes (30 under 30 list), Business Insider (30 Most Important Women under 30 In Tech), and Business Journal (Upstart 100).
Innovation has always been the driving force for young entrepreneurs like Jessica Scorpio. She, along with Elliot Kroo and Sam Zaid co-founded Getaround, a peer-to-peer car sharing service.
Scorpio earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Honors) in Political Science (International Relations) and a minor in Business from Carleton University. She then attended Singularity University’s Graduate Studies program on Energy and Ecological Systems where she was part of the inaugural graduating class. It was during her stay at Singularity that she met Zaid and Kroo and came up with an energy-saving concept that eventually became Getaround.
Her role as Director of Marketing for Getaround has earned her a lot of recognition from business insiders and media. Business Insider named her as one of the 14 Incredible Women To Watch In Silicon Valley in 2012. Prior to that, CEOWORLD Magazine also included Scorpio in their Top 20 Female Founders and Entrepreneurs of Technology Companies list.
Jon Reynolds’ career as co-founder and CEO of a highly regarded tech company began in 2008. Reynolds was only 22 when he co-founded SwiftKey, a company that develops text-input mobile applications with Ben Medlock. They had met at Cambridge while he was working to get a Master’s Degree in Physics. Today, he is the CEO of a company that employs over 150 people located in London, San Francisco, and Seoul.
Success wasn’t easy for Reynolds and SwiftKey. Prior to starting up the business, he was a civil servant working for the British Government. Without any business background to speak of, he found it hard to pitch their product to mobile phone manufacturers and other companies that may have some use for their innovative mobile keyboard. Despite the challenges, Reynolds forged on and got funding assistance from the government for the product’s development and patenting. They released the Android version of the app and by 2012, it became the most downloaded application on Google Play. That got everyone’s attention. Today, the SwiftKey application comes pre-installed in many devices running on the Android operating system. They were also able to launch a version of SwiftKey for Apple’s iOS in 2014. There are roughly 200 million Android and iOS devices running the SwiftKey application to date.
Reynolds hard work paid off as he went from zero to hero. He and his company has earned numerous awards in the UK and internationally as well. The company was once ranked as the 6th Most Innovative Mobile Business by Fast Company and Europioneers has hailed Reynolds as 2013’s Young Tech Entrepreneur of the Year. The London Loves Excellence Awards has also named him Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
On top of all his accolades and achievements, Reynolds also has an Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting (CIMA).
As the son of restaurateurs, Terrance Brennan was exposed to the food and hospitality industry early on in life. He started cooking at the age of 13 and went on to pursue a career as a chef. He worked in several high profile and Michelin Star restaurants including Le Cirquein New York City and the Le Moulin de Mougins located in the South of France. The “cuisine of the sun” the region is famous for became the inspiration for Brennan’s signature style.
Brennan came back to the United States and opened Picholine, a Mediterranean-inspired American cuisine restaurant, in 1993. Brennan also opened up Artisanal, a bistro-fromagerie-wine bar in 2001. The success of Artisanal prompted Brennan to launch a cheese selection, maturation and distribution facility measuring 10,000 square feet aptly named the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center.
Brennan has also become a fixture on television with appearances on shows like Live with Regis and Kelly, CBS Morning News, The Early Show, the Today Show shows on Martha Stewart Living Television and The Food Network.
Parenthood isn’t easy. There are so many things to consider including the food we feed our children. Neil Grimmer knows this first hand. As a father of two, he and his wife were looking for healthier alternatives to the store-bought baby food that ruled the market. They began preparing their own baby food for their two daughters, but since they were both very busy with their respective careers, they experienced a lot of inconvenience when it comes to making time to prepare the food.
This was when Grimmer came up with the idea of manufacturing and marketing organic baby food. He used his experience as Senior Designer at IDEO and VP for Strategy and Innovation for Clif Bar and Company, Grimmer developed Plum Organics, a line of organic baby food. He partnered up with former Clif Bar CEO Sheryl O’Loughlin to set up the company with the help of an angel investor by the name of Jed Smith, founder of drugstore.com. Aside from creating nutritious baby food, Grimmer also worked on the unique spouted pouch packaging that Plum Organics is known for. The pair hit the ground running and launched the company in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2008 that they got their big break when a buyer from Babies R Us spotted them at the Natural Products Expo East and ordered a large amount of their product to be sold in Babies R Us stores across the United States. Soon, they were supplying their products to other major retailers such as Target and the like.
Since the company’s inception, Grimmer has developed and launched over a hundred different organic products including a line of kid’s snacks which intends to reinvent the way kids eat their snacks. Campbell Soup Co., bought Plum Organics in 2013, but Grimmer still remains in charge as the company’s CEO.
Great business ideas can come from anyone – even a nine-year-old. Moziah Bridges came up with his business idea at that age. Fond of wearing bow ties, he was not happy with what was out in the market for kids his age. Taking the sewing skills he got from his grandmother, he began to make his own bow ties. People started taking notice and soon a business was born.
Bridges founded Mo’s Bows in 2011 and created more bow ties to sell using scrap fabric. He started selling the ties on Facebook and later on opened his own store on the website Etsy. Today, his creations are also available for sale on the Mo’s Bows website and in boutiques in Tennessee, Texas, and South Carolina.
Bridges has also made an appearance in the television show Shark Tank where he pitched his idea to a panel of “sharks” to get them to invest in his idea.
One is never too young to start their own business. “Teenpreneur” Leanna Archer has proven that. She founded her own company in 2005. She was only 9 years old. Today, she is the CEO of Leanna’s Inc., a company that makes and sells all-natural hair products. She is also the youngest person ever to ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ Stock Market.
Archer got her start in the business world when she used some homemade pomade her grandmother had given her. Many people noticed how nice her hair looked and asked her what product she was using. She never really intended to go into business and gave away the product which she repackaged herself. It was only when the demand grew and people started to offer her money to make more of the pomade. Using her grandma’s formula, she began to make it by herself. She eventually added other products and created her own hair care line, supervised by her grandmother to make sure she is doing everything right. In a span of a few years, Archer was selling her products not only to her neighbors in New York, but to the entire east coast as well. She later went global and ships her hair care products to 80 countries going as far as South East Asia.
Aside from running a multi-million dollar business, Archer also gives back through the foundation she set up in 2008. Staying true to her Haitian roots, the Leanna Archer Education Foundation helps children in need in Haiti. A part of Leanna’s Hair Products’ sales goes to the foundation which in turn feeds underprivileged children in Haiti. In the future, Leanna Archer hopes to be able to put up a school in that country in order to give the children there better opportunities in life.
Wendy Wilson Bett refused to take an overseas post while working for Cadbury Schweppes. This resulted in her position being made redundant. Bett left the company thinking about her next step. She read an article about a Swedish baker who had moved to Edinburgh and made really delicious Swedish crispbreads. She visited the bakery and tasted the crispbreads for herself and was hooked.
Along with former Cadbury colleague Ian Tencor, Bett spoke with the bakery owner Peter Ljunquist about developing the brand Peter’s Yard. With the product, name, and logo already there, the challenge for the trio was how to market crispbreads considering that many people do not like them. Bett trusted her instincts about the products and began marketing them to delicatessens, specialty shops, and other places one usually finds crispbreads. Once they’ve got a couple of big names on board, it wasn’t too difficult to market the product.
In 1998, Andrew Long co-founded a small company with Alex Cheatle. 17 years later, their small London-based company Ten Lifestyle Management has grown into an international company with offices all over the world. Now known as the Ten Group, the company provides concierge services to its clients as well as operates tailor-made loyalty programs for its corporate partners. They are in the business of making dreams come true for those who can afford it. They tailor their services in order to accommodate their client’s wishes – no matter how simple or extravagant they may be.
As COO of the Ten Group and CEO of Ten Asia Pacific, Long has moved to Singapore where the company’s Asia Pacific headquarters is located. The Asia Pacific region has proved to be the new center of wealth, it was a great move on the company’s part to expand to this part of the world. Long spends most of his mornings making sure that all the offices in the Asia Pacific region are operating without a hitch. Later in the afternoon, he focuses on other regions on other time zones. He also attends meetings with clients and business partners to discuss product development and other matters. This hands-on approach has made the Ten Group one of the top companies in this lifestyle management industry.
Long and Ten Group aren’t just about lifestyle management for the rich and famous. Long has also shown that he values the preservation of the environment as well. Under the banner of the Ten Group, Long founded G-Ten, the company’s environmental arm in London which aims to reduce carbon emissions in the city. The initiative was launched in cooperation with the Greater London Authority to ensure its success and the implementation of all its programs in London. Long was also appointed as chairman of the Green Leadership Group, a project of The Prince’s Trust.