Just a few weeks back, Forbes released its highly-anticipated 30 Under 30 List, an annual compilation of 600 business and industry leaders under the age of 30. Now in its 10th year, this list recognizes some of the most impressive young entrepreneurs, innovators, creators, athletes, musicians, and more that are changing the face of dozens of different industries.
Making it onto the Forbes 30 Under 30 List is no small feat. Tens of thousands of incredible young visionaries are nominated every single year, with each one undergoing intense scrutiny as the Forbes team narrows down the field to just 30 names across 20 different industries.
While making the Forbes 30 Under 30 List is an impressive accomplishment, even more impressive is the hard work that these young dreamers put into starting businesses and launching ideas that are changing the world. And here at Future Founders, we are proud to have worked with six young entrepreneurs that have gone on to be named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List after participating in our Fellowship program.
Read on to learn more about these six incredible young founders and their businesses that caught the eyes of the Forbes judges, and hear their first-hand thoughts on what it means to receive such a special honor.
Fellowship Cohort: 2017
Forbes 30 Under 30 Class: 2020
Claire Coder is the Founder of Aunt Flow, a company committed to ensuring everyone has access to menstrual products. Through partnerships with major schools and corporations like Princeton University and Google, Aunt Flow has distributed millions of their organic menstrual products, and donated another 500,000+ more to PERIOD.org. Coder began the company in 2015, and joined the Fellowship in 2017, where she continued to refine Aunt Flow’s value proposition and backend technology.
On making the Forbes 30 Under 30 list:
“When I founded Aunt Flow in 2015, I was just a gal from Ohio talking about tampons… It is simply incredible to have the menstrual movement validated by an established, noble organization. To me, it isn’t about having my name on the list, it is about having FORBES sign off that “yes. menstruation matters.”
Fellowship Cohort: 2020
Forbes 30 Under 30 Class: 2021
Kyle Gillis is the Co-Founder of Iconic Air, a software startup that offers emissions monitoring and data reporting for the oil and gas industry. After reaching the finals of our annual U.Pitch Collegiate Elevator Pitch Competition in 2019, Gillis joined the Future Founders Fellowship in 2020, where he grew and refined his business through major pilot programs. It was also during this time in the Fellowship that Iconic Air landed its biggest contract to date: a 15-month engagement with the United States Air Force.
Forbes 30 Under 30 Class: 2018
Matthew Rooda is the Co-Founder of SwineTech, a company offering a suite of tools and products to help hog farmers maintain healthier pigs. The winner of our 2016 U.Pitch competition, Rooda joined the 2017 cohort of our Fellowship, where he expanded on SwineTech’s flagship product, SmartGuard, a tool that reduces piglet death rates by over 30%. The following year, Rooda was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, where he was recognized for building a million-dollar business just a few years removed from college.
“Being named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list was humbling and I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for everyone in my life that contributed to helping me become who I am today. It truly helped our business attract new talent and added a real sense of credibility.”
Fellowship Cohort: 2018
Danya Sherman is the Founder of KnoNap, a cocktail napkin that changes color when it comes into contact with just a few drops of liquid laced with drugs. Born out of a traumatic personal experience while studying abroad, Sherman is on a mission to ensure everyone knows exactly what is in their drink. After participating in the 2018 Future Founders Fellowship, Sherman went on to be named to the Forbes 30 Under 30, Washington Life’s 2017 Technology 25 Innovators and Disruptors, and Toyota’s 2018 Mother of Invention.
“Being Recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur List was very meaningful to me and Team KnoNap as it further validated the importance of our work in inclusively empowering, educating, and advocating against drug facilitated sexual assault and crime.”
Fellowship Cohort: 2019
Yulkendy Valdez is the Co-Founder of Forefront, a technology company that helps employers develop the next generation of culturally competent leaders through gamified bite-size courses. Launched in 2017, Valdez has grown Forefront from an idea into a powerful tool serving major institutions like Accenture and Blue Cross Blue Shield. After participating in the 2019 Fellowship, Valdez and her Co-Founder Josuel Plasencia went on to be named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs list in 2020.
David Zamarin is the Founder of DetraPel, a nanotechnology-based chemical manufacturer that produces stain and water repellant sprays without the harmful chemicals found in most products on the market. Zamarin launched DetraPel in 2013 when he was just 15 years old, and refined his PFAS-free coatings while attending the University of Pennsylvania. In 2018, Zamarin successfully pitched DetraPel on Shark Tank, and joined the Future Founders Fellowship in 2019, where he put his business on pace to finish 2020 with over $3.75 million in orders.
“The whole thing is surreal. I come to work because I love the thrill of experiencing something new every day and knowing that we’re creating products that are truly helping others. To be recognized for such a prestigious honor just for doing what I love, makes it even better.”
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