Meet BetaBoston’s ’25 under 25′ winners for 2015
Congratulations to the winners of the BetaBoston 25 Most Innovative People Under 25. This year we received submissions spanning several industries including music, technology, software, social media, education, health and life sciences, and education. From this very impressive group, our editorial team selected the individuals we feel are are making their mark in 2015.
Sarah Sherburne, New England Venture Capital Association. Sherburne, a California native and a graduate of Wellesley College, has played an integral role at Boston World Partnerships, gotten an education in finance at First Republic, and is now the leader of the Tech Gen internship program at the New England Venture Capital Association. Through her knowledge of how startups network, find financing, and source talent, she’s building an important part of Boston’s innovation infrastructure in Tech Gen.
Anum Hussain, HubSpot. Hussain is a growth marketer for Sidekick by HubSpot, leading all content growth efforts. In addition to being a regular speaker and guest lecturer, a former regional director at MIST, and co-author of “Twitter for Dummies,” Hussain is one of the biggest thought leaders in the marketing space, producing blog posts, e-books, and reports viewed by over 1.2 million readers, and crafting SlideShare presentations that get shared and read by over 100,000 readers. Hussain also ranked in the top 10 out of 150 speakers at HubSpot’s INBOUND conference.
Kara Shurmantine, MassChallenge. Shurmantine plays a unique role in MassChallenge’s global strategy and is a driving force to support startups and enhance entrepreneurial communities around the world, leading all of MassChallenge’s global partnerships. Shurmantine was the catalyst behind getting MassChallenge UK off the ground in London and is currently initiating growth elsewhere in regions including Mexico, Colombia, and Switzerland. Her global role as an ambassador for the regional startup community allows Shurmantine to impact how stakeholders work with startups and ultimately to foster strong entrepreneurial communities.
Katie MacDonald, Cleantech Open Northeast. MacDonald is the executive director of the Cleantech Open Northeast accelerator program, which helps launch cleantech companies throughout New England. In her past roles MacDonald has taught and designed leadership development curriculum for public and private universities, served as a regional organizer for the world’s largest climate advocacy organization, written and collaborated with policy makers on renewable energy legislation, worked to develop cleantech solutions in the United States and Central America, and co-founded a regional youth climate advocacy organization. MacDonald stands out as an exceptional connector and community-builder, uniting the Northeast’s cleantech executives, entrepreneurs, business mentors, investors, university, and more to accelerate them all.
Hanson Grant, Babson College. Grant, a student at Babson College, is a serial entrepreneur, having started three businesses by the age of 21. His current educational startup, Think Board, has created a product called Think Desk that turns any school desk into a dry-erase creative workspace. Think Desks have proven to increase class engagement, efficiency, and most important, fun in a classroom.
Ryan P. Casey, The Dance Inn. Casey, the 6 foot 8 inch “improbably tall tap fave” (The Boston Globe), who has been featured on the January 2015 cover of Dance Magazine as one of their “25 to Watch,” has been trained under Thelma Goldberg and Kelly Kaleta with the Legacy Dance Company of The Dance Inn in Lexington, Mass. Casey teaches dance throughout the Greater Boston area, is on the faculty at Boston University, and directs his own company, Ryan P. Casey and Dancers. He has become a leader in the dance industry in Boston and around the country.
Michelle Wax, Boston & Bale and Kitchen Millie. Wax is founder of Kitchen Millie, a two-bite cookie company based out of Somerville, and Boston & Bale, a delivery service that makes discovering local Boston-area products easy. She has used her passion and determination not only to start two companies since December 2014, but to drive them to the next level in the consumer goods space. Wax stands out as a go-getter in the industry, with confidence and a unique ability to adapt and adjust in an ever changing market.
Matthew Boyes-Watson, Jumpshell Boyes-Watson is the founder and CEO of Jumpshell, a real estate startup based in Somerville. Boyes-Watson has developed his vision from an individual endeavor to a six-person team that has facilitated over $100,000 in real estate transactions in the past three months. He stands out as a leader in the real estate industry, as well as a leader in his community, founding and managing Central Squared, a community group that mobilizes young Cambridge residents to discuss and promote issues close to home, and serving as treasurer to Cambridge City Councilor Nadeem Mazen in his 2013 campaign. Matt also serves as mentor at The Possible Project, and serves on the advisory board of the Entrepreneurial Alliance at Colby College, his alma mater.
Ava Anderson, Ava Anderson Non Toxic Anderson launched Ava Anderson Non Toxic in 2009, after learning about the toxins found in everything from her daily toothpaste to deodorant and shampoo. Since launching the company at the age of 15, she has introduced a wide range of popular, toxin-free products to the national marketplace and has grown the Rhode Island business into a veritable direct sales empire, with a network of thousands of independent consultants across the country. She is a tireless advocate on this toxic issue, lobbied in Washington, D.C., to create a paradigm shift on this issue.
Daquan J. Oliver, Recesspreneurs Oliver is founder and executive director of Recesspreneurs, a nonprofit that works alongside undergraduate students to close the opportunity gap through after-school entrepreneurship programs. Growing up in a single-mother, low-income household, Oliver made a promise at age 14 to assist future children in a similar socioeconomic position to become successful, and founded Recesspreneurs at the age of 21. Prior to Recesspreneurs, he founded Jossle, a youth marketing agency which he continues to lead in his role as chief executive. Jossle has worked with large brands like Zipcar, Uber, and KarmaLoop and amassed a nationwide student network of more than 100,000 students. Oliver is known to bring a different perspective to the entrepreneurial education space, with a focus on understanding and empathy.
Julian Jung, Tablelist Julian Jung is the founder and CEO of Tablelist, a platform that levels the playing field and lets anyone book table/bottle service at their favorite nightclub. The company was founded only two years ago but is already booking millions of dollars in table service through hundreds of venues in Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Foxwoods, and the Hamptons. Prior to founding Tablelist, Jung was a real estate broker specializing in high end real estate sales/rentals and investment property. While an undergrad at Northeastern University, Jung executed over $500,000 in rental transactions and sold over $30 million in investment property. Jung stands out for his natural ability to take large, calculated risks.
Will Ahmed, WHOOP Inc. Will Ahmed is the founder and CEO of WHOOP Inc., which is developing next generation wearable devices for performance lifestyle. Ahmed also wrote “The Feedback Tool: Measuring Fitness, Intensity, and Recovery,” which sparked the underlying physiology and engineering for his work today. Whoop, founded in 2012, is available on a limited basis and is being used by Harvard Athletics and some of the top sports organizations and athletes in the country. In addition to bringing this system to market, Ahmed has raised more than $10 million from top investors and has an active advisory board that consists of some of the world’s most notable cardiologists, technologists, marketers, and designers. The development of Whoop was a complex technical feat, and without a formal technical background, Ahmed has been able to act as a key integration point for marrying countless technologies to develop Whoop.
Laura Marelic, Scout. Marelic is the founder and CEO of Scout, Northeastern’s new entirely student run and led full service design studio. A recent graduate of Northeastern University’s Arts Media & Design College, Marelic developed Scout to give a studio team of student designers exposure to real clients and real work along with bringing design and design thinking to the Northeastern community. Marelic has left a significant impact at the design program at Northeastern by building up the community that fosters creativity.
Christopher Wolfel, Mavrck. Wolfel is co-founder and chief revenue officer at Mavrck, a high-growth, venture-backed social influence marketing company based in Boston. The company’s platform powers premier consumer brands to drive more sales on social media and Wolfel heads up the sales, marketing and revenue for the company. In the past year alone, Wolfel and his team at Mavrck participated in TechStars Boston in 2014, a nationally known startup accelerator, closed a $2.5 million Series A funding round from GrandBanks Capital, and officially launched the white label version of its social influence marketing platform. Wolfel is known as one of the few 25-year-old CROs and co-founders in this city.
David Stanton, DraftKings/GymSnap. Stanton, a 2014 graduate of Colby College, is currently working in the customer experience department at DraftKings, working to build out the customer experience team as the company grows. Additionally, Stanton has started his own company, GymSnap, a mobile app that tells college students information about their athletic center including how busy each area of the facilities is at a given time. Stanton is known for his dedication and excitement for his work with both GymSnap and DraftKings, and his passion for entrepreneurship.
Elizabeth Barno, Greentown Labs. Barno was the first employee of Greentown Labs, an incubator space supporting startup companies focused on solving the world’s largest energy and environmental challenges. In a little over two years as community manager, she has helped grow the organization to support over 40 current member startups and over 200 entrepreneurs – making Greentown Labs the nation’s largest cleantech incubator. Barno has been able to make Greentown Labs a uniquely attractive place for cleantech entrepreneurs because of the incredible community she helped to create and foster.
Nicholas Rellas, Drizly. Rellas is the co-founder and chief executive of Drizly Inc., the technology company powering a superior shopping experience for beer, wine, and liquor. Since its inception in 2013, Drizly has raised $17.8 million in seed funding, expanded from one to 15 major metropolitan markets, grew from three to 42 full-time employees, and delivered hundreds of thousands of deliveries across the country. At just 25, Rellas has had an impressive 18 months, leading efforts such as directing the launch of Drizly’s first API, rebranding the company, and raising $13 million to further develop the brand, team, and customer experience. Despite his young age, Rellas has grabbed the attention of investors and industry professionals to help drive the growth and success of Drizly.
Benjamin Anderson, Amino Apps. Benjamin Anderson is the co- founder and CEO of Amino Apps, a mobile-only platform for passionate niche communities. A 2012 graduate of Northeastern University, Anderson has previous experience with OurStage, Paypal, and Hype Genius. Founding Amino Apps in 2013, Anderson is known for his innovative nature as well as his talents in social media marketing.
Slater Victoroff, indico. Victoroff is the CEO of indico, a company that is building a new kind of development environment, doing away with the hefty technical overhead that stands between you and developing incredible models. The company emphasizes ease-of-use and community to facilitate a new perspective on machine learning. Victoroff has also participated in GraphConnect Boston as the youngest presenter and won the award for best data visualization at HackMIT for interactive visualization of a user’s internet browsing history.
Matt George, Bridj. George is the CEO and founder of Bridj, a rapidly growing company that is working to deploy the world’s first smart private transit system. Bridj uses several sources of data to create shuttle routes geared toward urban white-collar workers, who can book guaranteed seats on buses outfitted with wi-fi. The startup has raised some $4 million in venture capital and has expanded its service from Boston to Washington, D.C. George previously worked as a paramedic, and also served as a White House intern.
Rory Cuddyer, Boston’s startup czar. Cuddyer has taken on a critical task for innovation-minded Mayor Marty Walsh: make sure that growing companies in Boston have the resources they need from City Hall. The czar’s job can be a little hard to define, but Cuddyer says a huge part is simply being available and making sure startups know they have a point person in the mayor’s office. Recently, he lent a helping hand when data-analysis company InsightSquared was looking for new office space outside of its outgrown Cambridge headquarters, linking up the company’s CEO with Boston’s economic development chief.
Toni Oloko, PracticeGigs. Toni Oloko is the founder and chief executive of PracticeGigs, a peer-to-peer learning marketplace that enables tennis players to achieve their dreams by creating connections that allow them to improve. As a current student at the University of Pennsylvania, Oloko stands out as a young and ambitious CEO with skills in public speaking and innovation.
Mario Gomez-Hall, Amadou Crookes, Gabe Jacobs, Cymbal. Mario Gomez-Hall, Amadou Crookes, and Gabe Jacobs make up the trio that founded Cymbal, the iOS app that lets you choose a song that captures your current mood and listen to the tunes your friends have picked. The three Tufts grads have already wrapped up a round of seed funding that included Vaizra Investments, General Catalyst Partners, Driftt co-founder Elias Torres, and TJ Mahoney, founder of FlipKey and general manager of the Boston Syndicates angel investing group. A standout group among the startup community in Boston, Gomez-Hall, Crookes, and Jacobs plan to move to New York in the fall to continue developing Cymbal.