Adam Lowy: Tapping the Relocation Industry to Feed the Hungry

Adam Lowy, founder of Move for Hunger, was born into a family that owned a moving company in New Jersey for 90+ years. He realized the immense amount of waste that individuals, groups and families leave behind in their former homes when relocating – and thus began his advocacy for putting the relocation industry’s influence into a positive impact particularly in combating hunger.

He founded Move for Hunger in 2009 for this purpose. Today, the non-profit organization remains as the first and only organization that connects the relocation industry with local food banks. Basically, Move for Hunger mobilizes the moving companies in its network to ask permission for and collect unopened, non-perishable food and non-food items during relocation jobs. The collected items are then delivered to local food banks, thus, ensuring that these are not wasted in the landfills but are used to alleviate hunger.

To date, Move for Hunger has moved more than 2.4 million pounds of food items in the United States and, hence, indirectly helped to feed over 2 million people.

Oliver Kremer: Delivering Mexican Fare Without the Fanfare

Oliver Kremer, the co-founder of Dos Toros Taqueria, opened the burrito restaurant as homage, of sorts, to Gordo Taqueria, a favorite spot in the Bar Area. He co-founded it with his brother, Leo, in 2009.

He first realized the business opportunity for a burrito spot when he discovered the absence of authentic San Francisco Mission-styled taquerias in New York City. He then decided to open Dos Toros Taqueria to meet the need for delicious Mexican fare but without the fanfare and fuss of the competition.

Unlike its competition, each burrito joint does not have huitlacoche, tongue tacos, and even wrestling posters to declare its supposedly authentic Mexican vibe. Instead, the place has a brawny simplicity to it – heavy wooden and leather stools, reclaimed wood tables, and raw concrete. The vibe evokes the fresh, quick and affordable dining experience of Mexican joints in the Bay Area, a deliberate design on the part of the Kremer brothers.

Each of the Dos Toros Taqueria joint boasts of other West Coast details, such as the aggressive composting policy, the biodegradable table utensils, and the amiable waiting staff. The joints have a college town atmosphere that attracts people from many walks of life from college students to young professionals and families. The taqueria can also be opened into the street when the weather permits, a touch that evokes the California mindset of al fresco dining that New Yorkers also appreciate.

The interiors may be unassuming but the food is as delicious as Mexican fare in the United States can get. The simple yet succulent food is created according to high standards, another deliberate decision along with the savvy decision to limit the menu to just three items. These are the taco, burrito, and quesadilla with a choice of meat toppings, including carne asada, carnitas, and pollo asado, or vegetarian toppings of either pinto or black beans.

Adam D’Angelo: From Facebook to Quora

Why be a top executive when you can be the top executive? Adam D’Angelo was one of Facebook’s early employees who was considered as its most gifted engineer and who climbed up the ladder to become its Chief Technology Officer.

But in 2008, D’Angelo left Facebook and co-founded Quora with Charlie Cheever, his colleague at the social media giant. He is the company’s Chief Executive Officer today.

Quora is a popular question-and-answer website where a community of users can ask questions, provide answers, as well as edit and organize them. The website aggregates the questions and answers according to topics for easy accessibility.

D’Angelo completed his high school studies at the Phillips Exeter Academy where he was a co-developer of Synapse Media Player, a music suggestion app. He attended the California Institute of Technology where he completed his bachelor’s degree in computer science.

He was a multi-awarded college student, too, with his International Olympiad in Informatics silver medal, among other accolades. Even Fortune magazine regards D’Angelo as one of the smartest people in the tech industry.

Patrick Collison and John Collison: Brothers in Tech

Sibling rivalry appears to be absent from the vocabulary of Patrick Collison and John Collison, co-founders of Stripe and brothers. The duo has raised over $50 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures, and General Catalyst Partners, among others, with Stripe now processing billions of dollars annually for thousands of companies worldwide. Today, Patrick is Stripe’s CEO while John is its president.

Although the brothers are originally from Ireland, Stripe is an American company that provides both commercial businesses and private individuals with online payment services. As of July 2015, the company has been valued at $5 billion by Visa during its latest round of funding.

Stripe has a unique business model in comparison with its competitors like PayPal and Shopify. Its main focus is on providing the appropriate fraud prevention, banking infrastructure, and technical support required in operating online payment systems. Its customers include many of the online world’s largest organizations including FitBit, Reddit, Wired, Twitter, The Guardian, Kickstarter, Squarespace, Salesforce.com, and Encyclopedia Dramatica; all of these organizations use Stripe as their default payment processor.

Patrick, born in 1988, is the older brother who has set the lead for the duo. He was declared as the winner of the 2005 41st Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition when he was just 16 years old. He was also a runner-up at the 2004 40th Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition – proof that he is a persistent young man.

John, born in 1990, is a pilot and pianist. With his brother, he co-founded Shuppa in 2007 in Limerick, Ireland. Shuppa merged with Auctomatic, a software company that manufactured tools for use in the eBay platform; it was acquired in March 2008 for $5 million.

At the rate the Collison brothers are going, the duo may likely become the next multi-millionaires in the tech industry, all before reaching their 40s.

Jack Hanlon: The Architect of Kinetic Social

Jack Hanlon, the co-founder and current head of product, is considered as the architect behind the present success of Kinetic Social, Inc. His contributions to the company make it one of the best up-and-coming technology companies, a fact that investors have observed and acted on via capital infusions.

Kinetic Social, Inc. is a social data and marketing technology start-up. It provides clients with cost-efficient, results-effective solutions for social, mobile and display advertisers to connect with their target audience in a better manner. Its Kinetic Social Platform supports and promotes the delivery process across several digital campaigns while its Kinetic Compass acts as a creative optimization tool. The Kinetic Compass analyzes social presence and rates online content according to KPIs, campaign insights, and contextual sentiment analysis.

Kinetic Social has certainly made a name for itself with over 500 clients on its roster. These include H&M, Mars, and Victoria’s Secret PINK. With Hanlon’s keen vision of a technology platform that enhances understanding and communication between brands and their audiences, the client roster can still increase.

Douglas Lusted: Leading the Technology Behind Linkett

Douglas Lusted is a born entrepreneur whose latest venture is set to rake in the money. He is the co-founder and current Chief Operating Officer of WestonExpressions, a company he established after winning the Innovation Showcase and Velocity Venture Fund awarded by the University of Waterloo in 2012. He was only in his sophomore year at the university’s business and environment studies degree program at the time.

He then assisted in the design and development of WestonExpressions’ innovative technology, Linkett Technology. WestonExpressions is a technology company that provides its clients with hardware and software innovations suitable for the out-of-home advertisement industry. Linkett Technology is a small device with features and functions that enable it to collect data about consumers; the data is then used in the optimization of digital content suitable for their demographic.

Linkett is described as an interactive digital signage system that gives traditional media, particularly televisions, with mobile and motion capabilities. By grabbing the attention span of passing consumers, the technology makes all content more interactive and accessible. The technology also provides promoters with key analytics necessary to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of content – a win-win situation that WestonExpressions’ clients find highly appealing.

WestonExpressions has three revenue models, namely:

  • Sell directly to retailers and brands with software-as-a-service model for $99.99/month per device with the option for an upgrade to $399.99 per venue for unlimited hardware;
  • Sell the technology to digital signage companies and resellers; and
  • Partner with advertising and marketing agencies for the creation of custom creative campaigns with the Linkett Technology used in illustrating branding for clients during tradeshows, among other special events.

Lusted brings his ideas to life via in-depth discussion with his co-founders. The co-founders then discuss the process for each part of the project as well as the division of labor and resources amongst themselves.

Joshua Liu: Transforming Healthcare with a Mobile App

Joshua Liu, a licensed physician and entrepreneur, is the co-founder and chief executive officer of SeamlessMD. The digital health company is at work in transforming surgical care through its mobile app, which assists healthcare providers and facilities in reducing the number of hospital readmissions especially after surgery.

The app provides healthcare providers with an effective and efficient patient engagement solution. Its features and functions are designed to guide patients through the phases of surgery including interactive care plans, timely reminders, and self-management tools. The patient-generated data will then be transformed into clinical information and intelligence that healthcare administrators and providers can then use toward the improvement of patient experience and outcomes, among other applications.

Liu’s app has been recognized for its innovative approach. It won the first prize at the national eHealth conference in Canada, for example. It has already gone live in several hospitals across the United States and Canada.

Cody R. Wilson: Building a New Society on a 3D-Printed Gun

Cody R. Wilson can be a polarizing figure. He is, after all, known in many circles as a free-market anarchist, a crypto-anarchist, and gun-rights activist, any one of which will have its fair share of supporters and critics.

He is, furthermore, gaining fame – or infamy, depending on which side of the fence you are on – as the founder and director of Defense Distributed. The non-profit organization develops and publishes open-source gun designs that can be printed using a standard 3D printer particularly a Stratasys Dimension series 3D printer.

Defense Distributed first came into mainstream attention in 2013 with its online publication of the plans for Liberator, a fully-functioning firearm that can be created with a standard 3D printer. Wilson and his associates were the brains behind the Wiki Weapon Project, which had the aim of designing and publishing the files for the Liberator.

Due to his invention, Wilson is considered by Wired Magazines as one of “The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World” in its Danger Room compilation. In 2015, he was also named by Wired Magazine as the fifth most dangerous person on the Internet. Both recognitions only reinforced Wilson’s renown as a gun-rights advocate.

Wilson has had his share of troubles for his views and activities especially in relation to his 3D-printable gun designs. For one thing, he was threatened with legal action by Stratasys upon learning of his plan to use its 3D printer for what would eventually become the Liberator. For another thing, he was interrogated by the ATF for his activities.

But all’s well that ends well. Wilson was issued a Federal Firearms License (FFL), which allowed him to manufacture and deal in guns.

Wilson is also expanding his wings into the Bitcoin industry. In 2013, he co-founded Dark Wallet, a Bitcoin wallet designed to provide greater anonymity to financial transactions.

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.