Who says American manufacturing is dead? The young innovators on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in Manufacturing and Industry are finding plenty of opportunities to design useful new products, make factories more efficient and create better materials.
Many of them are just trying to solve everyday problems, like Rachel Benyola, 29, founder of AnneeLondon, who invented a foldable, origami-style bike helmet, and Daisy Jing, 28, an acne sufferer who came up with an organic alternative to standard treatments called Banish. Then there’s Mike Tomovich, 28, whose company, Kuvee, designed a patented, smart wine bottle that prevents oxygen from reaching the wine inside, and Daehee Park, 29, co-founder of Tuft & Needle, who wanted to sell a comfortable mattress with no gimmicks, markups or middlemen.
College buddies Abbas Haider, 28, and Rob Davis, 27, the founders of Aspetto, found a market selling comfortable, bullet-resistant clothing to customers like the U.S. State Department and other federal agenices. SwineTech founders Matthew Rooda, 23, and Abraham Espinoza, 25, from the University of Iowa, developed sensor technologies to prevent sows from crushing their piglets to death, a big problem for hog farmers.
Others have found ways to help manufacturers scale their businesses or ensure their operations run smoothly. Fictiv, for example, co-founded by 29-year-old Dave Evans, matches customers with manufacturers that have idle machinery for quick turnarounds on parts and prototypes.
Sean Henry and Jacob Boudreau, cofounders of Atlanta-based Stord, have a similar model for on-demand flexible warehousing. Stord doesn’t own warehouses but uses software to connect businesses to independent warehouses that have excess capacity. Boudreau and Henry, who are just 19 and 20, respectively, handle all the paperwork.
Miriam Brafman, 26, runs an online custom packaging company, Packlane, that lets companies design their own boxes, using custom branding and artwork. She’s already got 12,000 customers and expects 2017 revenue to top $7 million.
Not everyone on the list is a company founder. Mike Eilers, 29, is a data expert who works for GE Aviation. He developed a digital thread tool that stitches together data about materials and parts used in engines from 12 factories using seven databases in three countries, saving his employer $4.4 million this year. Prior to his work, there was limited visibility into inventory, quality, and production levels.
Companies that specialize in 3D-printing are well-represented on the list. Fabric8Labs, whose cofounders include Jeff Herman, 29, and David Pain, 27, developed a non-thermal process for 3D-printing metal without powders. Customers include the aerospace, automotive and medical-device industries. Filabot, founder by Tyler McNaney, 25, converts recycled plastics like water bottles into filament for use in 3D printers, enabling sustainable, closed-loop systems. James Cao, 25, and Rain Wang, 28, founded Skelmet, which uses 3D-printing to make custom-fit eyeglasses, sunglasses, and goggles.
Several entrepreneurs on the list are working on autonomous vehicles, including Austin Russell, 22, the founder and CEO of Luminar Technologies, whose advanced LiDAR sensor helps autonomous vehicles see and understand the world around them. Compared to other laser-based systems, Luminar’s sensors can see 10 times farther and with 50 times higher resolution, says Russell. His company, which has raised $36 million and employs more than 250 people, already has contracts with Toyota Research Institute and other companies working on self-driving cars. Based in Silicon Valley, Luminar will soon begin a 10,000-unit production run out of its R&D and production facility in Orlando.
We also found companies that are developing new materials for manufacturing. Aaron Guan, 28, is the founder of BOCO Technology, which makes a bio-based nanomaterial derived from crustacean shells that can be used to develop things like moisture-proof packaging. Brent Keller, 28, is a co-founder of Via Separations, which develops advanced separation membranes for the chemical industry. Karen Dubbin, 28, created the “bio-inks” that her company, Aether, uses to 3D-print living tissue.
This is the seventh year that FORBES has compiled the 30 Under 30 list. To find the very best in Manufacturing and Industry, we combed through more than 200 of the brightest nominees submitted online, or generated by FORBES’ own reporting, to identify 48 true standouts. We then sent those names to our panel of three expert judges to pick the top 30 finalists. This year our judges included Rodney Brooks, founder of Baxter Robotics, Cindi Marsiglio, vice president for U.S. manufacturing and sourcing at Wal-Mart, and Sean Petterson, founder of StrongArm Technologies, and an alum of our 2017 list.
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More Info: www.forbes.com
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