Table of Contents
- 1 Sargun Kaur 28 & Nicole Hardson-Hurley 25
- 2 Winnie Karanja 29
- 3 Niara Valério 30 & Rahel Tekola 29
- 4 Carlos Vera 26
- 5 Nicole Tinson 30
- 6 Ashley Edwards 29
- 7 Janel Nour-Omid 27
- 8 Alpha Lee 25
- 9 Catherine Freije 28 & Cameron Myhrvold 30
- 10 Janice Chen 29 & Lucas Harrington 29
- 11 Conall Laverty 30
- 12 Swathi Iyengar 30
- 13 Shadi Bakour 28 & Amer Orabi 29
- 14 Derrick Emsley 30
- 15 Miranda Wang 26 & Jeanny Yao 26
- 16 Naman Trivedi 26
- 17 Kevin Bush 28
- 18 Boyan Slat 26
They inherited a world of three plagues: racial inequality, Covid-19 and climate change. These Under 30 alumni are trying to fix them all with cutting edge technologies, new markets and fresh ideas.
Additional Reporting By Marley Coyne
Wildfires. Racial inequity. A global pandemic. Widespread civil unrest. Rather than throwing up their hands in despair, these young activists and entrepreneurs, all Forbes Under 30 alumni, are taking action. Here’s how these young innovators are combating inequality, fighting climate change and battling the virus in 30 words or less.
Sargun Kaur 28 & Nicole Hardson-Hurley 25
To combat gender and racial bias, Lyft and Dropbox turn to these Stanford and Berkeley-grads’ identity-blind software to assess engineering skills of job candidates through real-world projects.
Winnie Karanja 29
Tired of being the only woman-of-color in science and math classes, Karanja raised $1.2 million for skill-based training programs targeting underrepresented students. It’s graduated 1,200 middle and high schoolers.
Niara Valério 30 & Rahel Tekola 29
Carlos Vera 26
Founder, Pay Our Interns
Most government internships are unpaid, making them inaccessible to low-income students. Colombia-born Vera’s nonprofit has helped 12,000 students obtain paid government gigs such as congressional aides.
Nicole Tinson 30
Founder, HBCU 20X20
Employers are prioritizing more diverse and inclusive workforces. Since 2017, Tinson has connected nearly 1,000 grads of historically black colleges with 45 employers including Accenture, Intel and Uber.
Ashley Edwards 29
One of 35 Black U.S. female founders to raise $1 million in venture capital, Newark-based Edwards helps youth-of-color heal from trauma. Mental health experts are available via text 365 days/year.
Janel Nour-Omid 27
Hand washing is essential to stop disease. Nour-Omid raised $5 million in funding for a wearable smart band that discreetly reminds healthcare workers to scrub their digits.
Alpha Lee 25
Putting his machine-learning expertise to work, Lee launched Covid Moonshot, an international nonprofit consortium finding a Covid-19 cure. They’ve pinpointed 5 compounds that kill the virus in living cells.
Catherine Freije 28 & Cameron Myhrvold 30
Researchers, Broad Institute
Harvard virology researchers use gene editing to detect and destroy viruses. The two have published almost 30 research papers—and yes, Myhrvold is that Myhrvold (Nathan’s son).
Janice Chen 29 & Lucas Harrington 29
Cofounders, Mammoth Biosciences
Conall Laverty 30
When the pandemic hit, the world suddenly needed millions of ventilators. Ireland-based Laverty collaborated with over 8,000 engineers, doctors and regulators to create open-source 3D-printing schematics.
Swathi Iyengar 30
Technical Officer, World Health Organization
A health economist for the WHO, Iyengar developed MedMon, a mobile app that tracks the price and availability of medicines in more than 25 countries.
Shadi Bakour 28 & Amer Orabi 29
First-generation Arab-Americans are making cheap, refillable aluminum bottles to replace plastic ones. They’ve raised $15 million from celebrities like Kevin Hart and Guy Fieri and offset 60 million so far.
Derrick Emsley 30
This Vancouver-based B-Corp plants 10 trees for every hat, shirt or sweater purchased. With $5 million in funding, he has planted 50 million trees since 2012.
Miranda Wang 26 & Jeanny Yao 26
Only 9% of plastic is recycled. This Canadian duo invented technology that transforms unrecyclable plastic into usable, resalable chemicals. They have raised $7 million; backers include Salesforce’s Marc Benioff.
Naman Trivedi 26
After stints at the White House and Google, Trivedi raised $1.7 million to build a search engine to help homeowners switch to cheaper -— and greener —- electricity options.
Kevin Bush 28
Cofounder, Swift Solar
The lightweight, low-cost solar cells developed by this Stanford-connected startup have many uses, including sun-powered airships and cars. Swift has $7 million in VC funding.
Boyan Slat 26
Founder, The Ocean Cleanup
Dutch inventor raised over $30 million for his “net” that passively collects ocean plastic. Last fall it conducted its first successful mission to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
As part of our Decade of Under 30 series, these profiles feature illustrations by Under 30 alumni.