The 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 Consumer Technology stars are determined to make our quality of life better — quickly and scalably.
This year’s group of consumer tech innovators and founders aren’t only focused on building engaging experiences that run on smartphones and wearables. The 2018 Under 30 class is on a mission to use these devices to support seamless on-demand services and tools that promote health, well-being and equality, so we can enjoy life more and live in a more just culture in the process.
For the seventh straight year, Forbes reviewed hundreds of the most promising young people in tech and also relied on the expertise of a panel of three judges: Breyer Capital founder and CEO Jim Breyer, along with two Under 30 alums, Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe and Kayvon Beykpour, founder of Periscope. The judges assessed a whittled down group, from which we created the 2018 30 Under 30 Consumer Technology list.
One of the biggest topics in tech and other industries such as entertainment in the past year has been the issue of gender discrimination and sexual harassment. The 2018 list highlights the impact of several women who made the often complicated decision to come forward to recount their experiences being sexually harassed on-the-record. The list recognizes individuals such as Susan Fowler, 26, a former Uber employee and current engineer and editor in chief of Increment magazine at Stripe , whose blog post about Uber caused the ride-hailing company to investigate its work culture and instate new leadership; and Susan Ho, 29, founder of travel startup Journy, who documented her experiences being sexually harassed by former Binary Capital cofounder Justin Caldbeck.
Among this year’s winners, consumer convenience was a major product theme. Maggie Moran, 29, leads product at the predictive flight-booking app Hopper, which delivers push notifications to alert shoppers about the best time to purchase a flight. Tyler Palmer, 27, is the head of operations at Patreon, the site that enables fans to easily connect with their favorite artists and creatives and support them through a monthly subscription. Luke Schoenfelder, and Brian Jones, both 28, cofounded the smart lock system Latch, which has raised $26 million in venture funding and debuted with partnerships with Apple and Walmart. EatStreet, food delivery startup Matt Howard and Alex Wyler, 28, started seven years ago, is now in 250 markets with more than 1.7 million customers.
Credit: Jamel Toppin for Forbes
This year’s Consumer Tech call-out is Philip Kimmey, 28, cofounder of the top dog in the pet-care space, Rover. For the past six years, Kimmey has led Rover’s engineering efforts across Rover’s site and app, which connect owners to sitters and walkers. More than 140,000 of these caretakers have signed up, charging about $20 for a walk and $35 per night for an overnight stay, with Rover taking a cut of each service. With almost $160 million in funding, Rover acquired its main competitor DogVacay in an all-stock deal in March for an undisclosed sum. “On Rover, somebody is going to treat your dog just like you do,” says Kimmey, father to a 10-month old apricot colored toy poodle. “You know they’re going to love them.”
Another theme within this year’s consumer list is a focus on health and well-being, especially mental health. April Koh, 26, Adam Chekroud, 25, and Abhishek Chandra, 23, all first-generation immigrants, cofounded Spring Health at Yale University, creating a mental health tool for large employers that screens employees for mental illness, develops personalized, data-driven treatment plans based on peer-reviewed algorithms and connects employees to a provider within a week through a video psychiatry platform. And in 2016, Marah Lidey, 28, created Shine, a personalized messaging experience that helps 1 million millennials in 165 countries achieve self-care.
Some list winners like Ali Mohamed, 22, have achieved technological breakthroughs. Mohamed, built a patent-pending tool that enables individuals with hearing loss to visualize sound — “Vound” uses a combination of augmented reality and artificial intelligence to interpret sound waves and convert them into projections on a display screen in real-time at a fraction of the cost of cochlear implants or hearing aids. Mohamed is currently taking time off from MIT to test his service across the U.S.
This year’s consumer winners highlight that the logistics of just about every part of our daily routines can be improved — but there are also ways to invest in ourselves to ensure we’re in the right head space to be able to enjoy it.
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