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Monthly Archives: March 2015

When people hear the word ‘investor’, they immediately think of serious looking middle-aged men in business suits scrutinizing every aspect of the business they’re planning to pour heaps of money into. This may be true for the most part, but as startup founders get younger and younger, so do the venture capital people that fund them. Romulus Capital is a venture capital firm co-founded by young, passionate, and established people who have had vast experience in entrepreneurship even at their young age.

Krishna Gupta graduated with degrees in Management Science and Materials Science and Engineering. He started Romulus Capital in 2008 while still studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before founding Romulus, Gupta worked at JP Morgan as part of the M&A advisory team with a focus on the technology, media, and telecom sectors. He also worked at McKinsey and Company where he was a management consultant. Aside from business and finance, Gupta has also dabbled in research. Some of his research projects include physical chemistry and nanotechnology projects at the University of Chicago and Israel’s Weizmann Institute.

Gupta’s co-founder, Neil Chheda, on the other hand, graduated with an AB degree in Political Science from Yale University and received his MBA from the prestigious Harvard Business School. Prior to becoming a venture capital partner, Chheda worked as a product manager for online and mobile game developer Zynga where he had a hand in developing products for the very popular game Farmville. He also did a short stint at McKinsey and Company where he worked with technology and healthcare companies. Chheda also has an entrepreneurial background as he was able to successfully startup and sell a healthcare company which works with outpatient clinics and designs anesthesiology services for them. He also founded a small private equity firm that caters to niche healthcare markets.

Coming from a family of artists, it wasn’t surprising that Phoebe English followed suit and pursued a career in the arts – fashion design. Her eponymous fashion line was initially launched in 2011.

English grew up in Warwickshire, England – a mere 100 meters from the place where William Shakespeare was born. She eventually went on to graduate from the Master’s Program at Central Saint Martins in London. Her clothing line has garnered a lot of attention from fashion celebrity insiders as well as celebrities such as Lorde and many others. What makes her designs unique is the special attention she pays to the “surface” of the garment and how it interacts with the female form. She also incorporates design techniques that have long been forgotten or minimally used, making her designs stand out in the modern world. English wants to emphasize construction over decoration when it comes to her designs. It’s no wonder that Forbes included her in their list of 2015’s 30 Under 30 in the Art and Style category.

Born in Chicago in 1987, Charlie Engman is one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Art and Style for 2015. As a photographer, Engman pushes many boundaries and is able to bring together commercial success and his love for visual arts. Although many of his works on exhibit have raised a few eyebrows here and there, there’s no denying that this man captures very interesting moments in every photograph he takes.

Engman studied and received a BA First class degree in Japanese and Korean Studies from Oxford University. After graduating, he focused his attention on the arts and continued studying at Oxford’s The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. It was around this time that his career in commercial photography began. He had several exhibits to his name including the Boule to Braid exhibit at the Lisson Gallery in 2009 which was curated by Richard Wentworth.

Engman returned to the United States after graduating and made a name for himself by displaying a unique style which integrates art, fashion, and commercial practices. Since then, his photographs have reached far and wide with exhibits in Amsterdam’s FOAM Gallery and the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles just to name a few. Publications from all over the world also use the images he produces for both editorial and commercial pages. Engman is also known as the photographer for behind some of the most memorable fashion and retail campaigns for big name brands, designers, and fashion houses such as Vivienne Westwood, Hermes, LaCoste, Adidas, Shiseido, Galeries LaFayette, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Stella McCartney.

Despite his commercial success, Engman has not turned his back on the artistic side of photography. He uses his mother both as a muse and a model for some of his more controversial works. In many of these pictures, Engman’s mother appears to be nude or almost nude.

Justin Rosenstein graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Mathematics. He was pursuing a graduate degree in Computer Science when he dropped out of the program in order to join Google in 2004. At Google, Rosenstein was a software engineer and product manager for Google Page Creator which was succeeded by Google Sites in 2009.

In 2007, Rosenstein left Google to work as a lead engineer for Facebook. This is where he met Dustin Mozkovits, the man who would become his business partner and co-founder at Asana. While at Facebook, Rosenstein and Mozkovits became frustrated at how much time people spent sending, reading, and replying to emails and attending long meetings which took away from time which they should be productive. This prompted them to create a web application that helped streamline communications, which in effect, significantly reduced the amount of emails and meetings employees had to go through every day and increased productivity.

In 2008, armed with this new product, Rosenstein left Facebook to start a new journey as an entrepreneur.

Edward Saatchi is the son of advertising mogul Lord Maurice Saatchi and novelist Josephine Hart, and it seems like success runs in his blood. This is true for the most part; however, instead of going into advertising just like his father, he took a different road, but still ended up in the same place – success.

The younger Saatchi co-founded NationalField, a social network built for campaigns, be it on a national or local scale. The network allows organizers to keep track of what’s happening on the ground and allow for easier communication between the organizers, staff members and volunteers of the campaign. Companies use the network to communicate with everyone employed there and share pertinent data in the spirit of transparency.

Interestingly enough, the idea for this internal social network came when Saatchi volunteered to help in Barrack Obama’s first presidential campaign. Despite not being an American citizen, Saatchi believed in Obama and wanted to see him succeed. He, along with NationalField co-founders Justin Lewis and Aharon Wasserman, worked as field directors for the campaign. Frustrated with the way they had to deal with a large amount of data, they created the platform for the regions that they were assigned to. This new system proved to be very useful as it helped to significantly increase productivity in the areas that used it. The campaign team quickly took notice and took the platform nationwide.

After helping Obama get elected for two consecutive terms, Saatchi and his co-founders decided to take NationalField to a whole other level. Seeing its potential for use in businesses as well, decided to turn it into a business. The company was recently acquired by NGP VAN, the leading technology provider for most campaigns, non-profit organizations, labor unions, and political parties.

Saatchi graduated from Wadham College in Oxford.

In the tech world, big data means big business. Helping corporations analyze an overwhelming amount of data and converting them into something they can actually use isn’t as easy as it sounds. This is the field where Jeff Hammerbacher truly shines. As Chief Scientist of Cloudera, he puts his years of experience to good use as he helps develop data analysis solutions for the company’s clients.

Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics degree from Harvard University, Hammerbacher began his carreer in Wall Street as a Quantitative Analyst. He then joined Social Networking giant Facebook where he was responsible for conceiving, building, and leading the company’s Data team. There, he and his team were responsible for creating analysis applications powerful enough for big data using Apache Hadoop. The data they processed and analyzed was instrumental to improving user experience and increasing the company’s revenue.

Before co-founding Cloudera, Hammerbacher was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Accel Partners.

John Goscha is no ordinary entrepreneur. He is also an inventor who has come up with some of this century’s most innovative products. Like many of today’s up and coming entrepreneurs and CEOs, Goscha started young, but what sets him apart from the rest of this generation’s entrepreneurs are the products that he has invented and developed.

His company Finally Light Bulb Company created and developed a new type of lighting technology that replicates the warmth and aesthetic design of incandescent bulbs, but without the hefty price tag and wasted energy. This new lighting technology is not based on the CFL and LED lightings we are used to is called Acandescence and it uses up only 25% of the energy used up by incandescent lighting.

Goscha was born in Littleton, Colorado in 1984 and has been dabbling in business since his high school years. At the age of 16, he had already founded his first company, Goscha Golf, from his parent’s garage. He designed golf clubs that used lightweight aluminum and silicon fibers instead of titanium. The golf clubs also had an adjustable weighting system which golfers can use to adjust the club’s sweet spot. He sold these clubs online through his own website.

While earning a degree in Economics and Entrepreneurship at Babson College, Goscha founded another company. This new company called IdeaPaint produced paint that could turn any flat wall or smooth surface into a dry-erase board. Today, IdeaPaint is available in major retail outlets in over 20 countries all over the world and have been used to paint the offices of more than 75,000 organizations across the globe.

Goscha’s achievements both as a businessman and inventor have earned him recognition not only by the design industry, but by business media such as Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Inc. Magazine.

Matt Doka is well known for co-founding FiveStars where he serves as the company’s CTO, but before the success he gained from this innovative company, he worked in the world of finance and did some volunteer work in Uganda.

While earning his degrees in both Finance and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania’s Management and Technology program, Doka was able to accumulate significant work experience in the field of investment banking. He worked as an analyst at AVM and Morgan Stanley. After graduation he started working for McKinsey and Co., where he was a consultant that dealt with companies in private equity, healthcare, and telecom industries. After McKinsey, he set off to Uganda as a volunteer for Technoserve, a non-government organization that helps farmers in underdeveloped nations increase their income and improve productivity in order to be self-sustaining and profitable.

Volunteer work has given Doka a new outlook on business and entrepreneurship, and the lessons he has learned while he was there has greatly influenced his approach to business.

Victor Ho was a consultant at McKinsey and Co. when he came up with the idea for FiveStars, a company he co-founded with McKinsey colleague Matt Doka. Before this, he worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and it was there that he discovered the challenges companies face when it comes to building customer loyalty. During his tenure at McKinsey, he was able to work with Fortune 500 companies by managing their customer retention programs. Using the knowledge he gained at McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, he and Doka ditched their careers in finance to create a company that would give local merchants and businesses a way to promote and develop customer loyalty in the form of a universal loyalty card.

Before going through with the business, Ho applied for and was interviewed for a position in two large hedge fund companies. Coming home from those interviews, he was at the airport waiting for his flight when he realized what he really should be doing with his life. He then withdrew his applications and began planning his next step. FiveStars was launched in December 2010. The company was strapped for cash at the time after spending the stipend of $20,000 from Y Combinator on developing the company. Luckily, they were invited to a meeting with other Y Combinator participants and several investors who placed $150,000 with each of the companies affiliated with the startup incubator at that particular time. This enabled them to hire more people to complete the development of the product and eventually launch it. Within just one year, there were over 800 businesses using the FiveStars loyalty service with more than 250,000 people enrolled in FiveStars accounts.

Ho graduated with a triple major from the University of California, Berkeley, earning him degrees in Industrial Engineering, Rhetoric, and Business Administration.