Chiara Ferragni: Fashion Blogger Turned Entrepreneur

Born on the 7th of May 1987 in Cremona, Italy, 27-year-old Chiara Ferragni is a fashion blogger, shoe designer, model, and entrepreneur. Her career began in 2009 when she launched her fashion blog called The Blonde Salad. As a fashion blogger, she practiced what she preached and was hailed as a breakout style star in 2011. Publications like Teen Vogue also took notice of her and named her as the Blogger of the Moment in December of the same year.

She became a model/spokesperson for the iconic brand Guess in 2013 and appeared in one of the company’s ad campaigns. She also began designing shoes and collaborated with several of the biggest names in shoes and fashion accessories like Steve Madden, Louis Vuitton, Max Mara, and Christian Dior just to name a few. Another big achievement for Ferragni was to become the first blogger to appear on the cover of Vogue Magazine anywhere in the world when she was chosen to grace the cover of Vogue Espana’s April 2015 issue.

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: Self Expression Inside and Outside of the Gallery

Artists express more than just their emotions and their creativity through what they create. Many artists use their skills and innate talent to take a stand or to make a statement that people would make people stop and listen to what they have to say. Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is one such artist.

Fazlalizadeh is best known for her street art and the messages she tries to convey with them. In 2012, she began a street art campaign called Stop Telling Women to Smile. This campaign aims to stop sexual harassment of women on the streets. She interviewed a number of women who have experienced being sexually harassed on the streets. From what she gathered from these interviews, she created posters featuring a portrait of a different woman in each of the posters. In some cases, the images are painted directly on the walls. Along with the portrait comes a caption which reflects how these women reacted to the harassment they’ve experienced. These captions come in the form of statements like “Harassing women doesn’t prove your masculinity” or “Women are not outside for your entertainment”. She began the campaign in Brooklyn, New York and was able to raise enough moral and financial support for the project to be able to display these images in other cities all over the United States.

Aside from her anti-sexual harassment campaigns, Fazlalizadeh also uses her art to raise awareness about other issues such as the Get Angry campaign that depicts people standing up for what they believe in. The choice of subject for this particular series of artworks does not reflect her own personal beliefs, rather it is a tribute to the courage of these people to fight for change. She also created some pieces which featured President Barack Obama. These pieces were included in a book edited by artist Shepard Fairey which is called Art For Obama: Designing Manifest Hope and the Campaign for Change.

Aharon Wasserman: From Campaign to Boardroom

Aharon Wasserman was a Political Science student at Rutgers University – New Brunswick campus when he dropped out to join the presidential campaign of then candidate Barrack Obama. At the campaign, Wasserman was made regional field director in Ohio and deputy field director in Georgia. It was during this campaign that he met the two people who would soon be his co-founders at NationalField, an internal social network that aims to bridge the gap between campaign organizers and its staff, as well as company management and their employees.

During the campaign, the trio of Wasserman, Edward Saatchi, son of advertising icon Lord Maurice Saatchi, and Justin Lewis had some difficulty keeping track of their people on the ground, as well as the overwhelming amount of data their staff fed them. This prompted them to develop a software platform which is often compared to social networking giant Facebook. They used this platform to streamline communications with their staff which in turn, increased the productivity in the regions they were serving. The success of the platform led to the development of a commercial version which is the NationalField companies and other organizations use today.

Anson Tsai: Innovation Never Stops

For serial entrepreneurs, there’s no limit to innovation. Starting up a company, making it successful, and selling it off to larger companies, take a lot of time, patience, hard work, and a steady stream of new ideas. This is something that’s not easy to achieve. One serial entrepreneur who has achieved that and never seems to run out of ideas is Anson Tsai, co-founder of Cardpool, an online marketplace where people can buy, sell, and trade new and pre-gifted gift cards. Cardpool was co-founded by Tsai who served as the company’s CEO until it was acquired by Blackhawk Network in 2011. After the acquisition, Tsai remained with the company and took on the role as Blackhawk Network’s Vice President and General Manager for Cardpool. Tsai stayed with Blackhawk until he left the company in 2013.

Prior to co-founding Cardpool with Timothy Wong, Tsai was already a successful entrepreneur, having already started up his own business. He founded Anywhere.FM, a user-driven online music service. Anywhere.FM users can discover and play music on the web, as well as upload their own music to the site. The company was later on acquired by online music streaming website imeem. Tsai stayed on with imeem as a senior software engineer until the company was acquired by MySpace in 2009.

Before he became an entrepreneur, Tsai honed his skills at Microsoft. At Microsoft, he worked with the Xbox 360 team as a software engineer and program manager. His work with the Xbox 360 team helped revolutionize the gaming and entertainment industry as we know it. Tsai graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree both in Computer Science and in Engineering.

Because of his work with Cardpool, Tsai was able to get a spot on the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Technology list in 2011.

Solomon Hykes: Making Software Development Simpler

The world of software development can be quite complicated, even for those who have been working in this field for a long time. Simplifying the process was a challenge that was met by Solomon Hykes.

In 2011, Hykes co-founded and launched dotCloud, a multi-lingual Platform-As-A-Service company which simplifies coding for programmers by handling the scaling, code building, load-balancing, and deployment allowing the programmers to put all of their focus into coding. Hykes served as CEO of dotCloud before branching out into a project which aimed to develop an open source engine that programmers can use to deploy applications that would run anywhere. The project was called the Open Source Docker Project.

In October 2013, the exponential growth of the Docker project prompted the company to change its name to Docker, Inc. This change of name reflects the shift in the company’s focus. The new product still runs on the dotCloud platform.

In 2014, Hykes formally left dotCloud when the Platform-As-A-Service business was acquired by cloudControl, Inc.

Drew Houston: Y Combinator’s Most Successful Alum

In 2007, Drew Houston co-founded Dropbox with Arash Ferdowski. Little did he know that a simple solution to a common problem would turn him into a billionaire years later. At only 32 years old, Houston is currently on Forbes’ list of the World’s Billionaires.

His rise to the top was not quite unusual. Like many successful tech startups, the idea for Dropbox was born out of necessity. After graduating with a degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Houston’s frustration with having to carry USB flash drives and emailing files to himself in order to access them when he needed it was what brought about the idea of a cloud-based storage system where people can just upload files and access them through computers, mobile phones, or tablets that are connected to the internet. Dropbox got the attention of Y Combinator which provided seed funding for the company. Dropbox was founded in 2007 and formally launched the following year. It has since become Y Combinator’s most profitable investment to date and is considered one of the best Silicon Valley startups by many business media and tech industry insiders.

Prior to Dropbox, Houston already got a feel of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. He co-founded an online SAT prep company called Accolade while he was still working on his bachelor’s degree at MIT and he has also worked as a software engineer and developer at a number of tech startups.

Houston is also part of the tech powerhouse FWD.us which is a collaboration between some of the tech industry’s brightest minds in support for reforms in the immigration and education policies in the United States among many things. Aside from Houston, FWD.us was co-founded by big names such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Joe Green (President), Ron Conway, and many other tech entrepreneurs.

Dave Fowler: Changing the Way We Look at Data

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.

Lisa Falzone: Revolutionizing Point of Sales Systems

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).

Jessica Scorpio: Innovating for a Cleaner, Greener Future

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: Improving the Mobile Keyboard Experience

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).