Bloomberg announced Thursday the winners of the 2010 America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs, a competition among startups founded by entrepreneurs under 25. Also on Thursday, Kiip.me (pronounced “keep,” as in “wii”) announced the closing of a $300K round of financing, making Kiip.me founder Brian Wong, age 19, the youngest entrepreneur to receive venture investment. The tech world is powered by young adopters, so who are the hot up-and-coming (and already here) young entrepreneurs?
Mark Zuckerberg, 26
I know it’s obvious—but it has to be said. In 2008, at the age of 23, Mark Zuckerberg topped Forbes’ list as the youngest self-made billionaire in the world four years after creating Facebook.com. To be clear, he isn’t actually the youngest billionaire in the world. That title goes to his former roommate and Facebook co-founder, Dustin Moskovitz. But in terms of numbers, Zuckerberg beats out the competition. Worth $6.9 billion, Zuckerberg is now worth more than Steve Jobs. What does he do with all his oodles of cash? Nothing. He rents a house in Palo Alto, California and recently donated $100 million to public schools in Newark, NJ.
Gurbaksh Chahal, 28
In 1998, at the age of 16, Chahal dropped out of high school to work full-time at his first company, ClickAgents, an advertising network for performance-based advertising. Two years later, at the age of 18, he sold ClickAgents to ValueClick for $40 million. He went on to create another advertising network, BlueLithium, which he sold to Yahoo for $300 million when he was just 25 years old. In 2009, Chahal created gWallet, which raised $12.5 million in funding, and in 2010, he created another ad network called RadiumOne. I just wish he would stop taking pictures like this.
Brian Wong, 19
As previously mentioned, at 19, Brian Wong may be the youngest entrepreneur to receive venture investment. Mark Zuckerberg (side note: sometimes when I mean to write “Mark Zuckerberg” I accidentally write “Mark Wahlberg”) raised venture capital when he was just 20 years old. Wong has a pretty interesting back story. Canadian by birth, Wong skipped four grades and graduated from college at the age of 18. For a brief time, he worked at Digg, where he helped launch their Android app, and then went on to found Followformation, an automated, categorized Twitter discovery tool. Definitely someone to watch.
Mike Moradian, 25
At 25, Mike Moradian won Bloomberg’s 2010 America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs with his startup CampusBuddy.com. As a sophomore at UCLA, Mike had a particularly tough time with a calculus class, which led him to think about how students would benefit from knowing how professors grade. Through the Freedom of Information Act, Mike got access to grade distributions at UCLA. Founding CampusBuddy in 2008, Mike went on to aggregate grade distribution from 100 million grades for professors, classes, and majors at 250 public universities, starting with the University of California system. Mike expects revenues of $400,000 this year and $1 million next year.
Matthew and Brian Monahan, 26 and 23 respectively
The brother duo is a two-for. At 22, Matthew sold his first business and moved to Silicon Valley, where brother Brian later met him. The two started Inflection, a company that aggregates records and makes them available to users. In September 2010, Inflection raised $30 million in Series A funding from Matrix Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures. Inflection operates Archives.com, a site that gathers data on family history, as well as Peoplesmart.com, a site that aggregates public information on…everyone. A little creepy, but totally legal.