20 Millennial Founders (+ their startups) to watch in 2018

Examples

Date: 03.03.2018

Below are the profiles of 20 of the most promising young founders within the Next Gen Community, although this is not an exhaustive list, these 20 startup founders are talented, dedicated, and on the rise.

Be sure to keep these young guns on your radar in 2018!

1) Stacey Ferreira

Snapshot:

Age: 24

Co-founders: Talulah Riley, Scott Ferreira, Lloyd Jones

Education: New York University, dropout. Thiel Fellowship.

Company: Forge.

“Work Life Balanced”

To date:

Founded in 2015, Forge empowers companies to offer their workforce the same schedule flexibility that a ride-share driver experiences in order to stay competitive in the fight for great talent. With Forge, companies can hire qualified candidates, make hours available for pickup while also optimizing labor cost around sourcing, hiring and training.

Forge raised a $2.6M seed round from notable venture capitalists such as Social Capital, Sherpa Ventures, UP2398 and 1517 Fund to name a few.

To watch:

In late 2017, Forge will be launching multiple integrations with POS and Payroll vendors to help clients have more invaluable data regarding Labor Costs and COGS.

2) Nick Mares

Snapshot:

Age: 21

Co-founders: Justin Mares

Education: Thiel Fellowship

Company: Kettle and Fire

“Getting bone broth and its many health benefits into as many people’s hands as possible. “

To date:

Kettle and Fire launched end of 2015, and within two years will be in over 1,700 stores with their bone broth. They’re able to count Whole Foods, Wegmans, Sprouts, Krogers, HEB, and many others as valuable customers who sell their products in stores.In addition to their large retail business, Kettle and Fire has a thriving online business and is on pace to have their first 8 figure year.

To watch:

Kettle and Fire is focused on expanding their current product line, and by end of 2017 will have 4–5 product lines, and over 15 products total. Considering early 2017 they only had a single product, they are quickly developing more products to service their thousands of customers.

3) Laura Vaughan

Snapshot:

Age: 21

Co-founders: Steven ten Holder

Education: University of Waterloo, dropout. Thiel Fellowship.

Company: Acorn Biolabs

“We provide genetic analysis to help you take control of your health today, and preserve your cells at their current age. This allows you to fully take advantage of the next wave of cell-based therapeutics and treatments in regenerative medicine.”

To date:

In development since 2015, Acorn Biolabs aims to preserve people’s young cells for future medical treatments and improve their healthspans. Having participated in the YC Fellowship program as well as Creative Destruction Lab, the company successfully raised seed capital to develop our first product. Acorn’s new CEO, Dr. Drew Taylor, is a VC investor and Lead Medical Researcher for Epic Capital Management’s series of healthcare funds.

To watch:

Acorn Biolabs is moving into JLABS in Toronto in the fall, currently raising its angel round and is expected to launch in the beginning of 2018.

4) Ryan G Smith

Snapshot:

Age: 26

Co-founders: Zachary Silverman

Education: Colgate University, graduate.

Company: LeafLink.

“Connecting retailers with the brands they love.”

To date:

Born in 2016, LeafLink is a wholesale b2b platform for legal cannabis companies. LeafLink connects retailers with the brands they love, allowing them to purchase inventory from multiple brands, all in one cart. LeafLink has raised over $4m in capital and is currently live in CO, WA, OR, NV, and CA with 1,300+ retailers and 250 leading brands.

To watch:

LeafLink will expand to new states, setting the standard for the country’s fastest growing industry, as momentum continues to build around state-level legalization of cannabis.

5) Rachel Zietz

Snapshot:

Age: 17

Education: Pine Crest High School, Senior

Company: Gladiator Lacrosse.

“High quality, affordable lacrosse practice equipment to take your game to the next level.”

To date:

Rachel is the founder of Gladiator Lacrosse, a high-quality sports training equipment line with an affordable price point. At 17 years old, as a straight-A high school student, athlete, CEO, and dedicated family member, Rachel has maintained a profitable company without ever compromising the brand’s fundamental intent or consumer promise. In January 2016, Rachel was recognized by Governor Rick Scott in his State of the State Address for her business success, which recognized some of Florida’s top business leaders and their contribution to the State. She was also honored by Florida Governor Rick Scott and awarded the Governor’s Young Entrepreneur Award for her business success. Rachel has been featured in many publications, including The New York Times, USA Today, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, Inc., and TIME Magazine, being named one of the 30 most influential teens of 2016. Rachel also appeared on Season 7 of ABC’s hit television show Shark Tank.

To watch:

Gladiator Lacrosse is going to continue to expand the product line-up to include 3 more game changing products. They are currently being finalized. Stay tuned for their release!

6) Jeremy Cai

Snapshot:

Age: 22

Co-founders: Keith Ryu

Education: Thiel Fellowship.

Company: OnboardIQ

“Bring intelligence to your workforce hiring”

To date:

OnboardIQ is a leading mid-market and enterprise hiring automation platform for large-scale, hourly workforce screening. Companies use the platform to empower their HR and operations teams to automate tedious manual tasks and make data-driven hiring decisions at scale.

The 3-year old Y Combinator graduate has raised $11MM in capital and have customers in 46 countries and 700+ cities who have used the platform to process over 3,500,000 applications.

To watch:

In order to expand its product offering and to broaden its customer reach, OnboardIQ is using the funding to grow the San Francisco team with Ruby-on-Rails engineers, an experienced sales team, and its first dedicated marketing person.

7) Tatiana Birgisson

Snapshot:

Age: 27

Education: Duke University, graduate.

Company: MATI Energy

“Healthy energy”

To date:

MATI is the first truly healthy, long lasting energy drink-it’s a simple yet powerful combination of juices and team and packs the same caffeine punch as a Red Bull or 12oz coffee. Launched out of Birgisson’s Duke dorm room in 2012 and was bootstrapped until winning best startup in North America at Google Demo Day which sent the company sky-rocketing with impressive triple-digit growth year-over-year.

To watch:

Mati closed on $5M in financing in Summer 2017 to support exciting retailer and geographic expansions in 2H2017 and 2018.

8) Phat Le

Snapshot:

Age: 22

Education: Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Thiel Fellowship.

Company: Sleeker

“Helping Auto Shops and Drivers Communicate Efficiently”

To date:

Sleeker helps every conversation between auto shops and drivers find its way to the right person so that vehicles are fixed faster and with fewer headaches. Businesses earn more revenue and drivers can easily schedule and pay for vehicle maintenance on their own terms. Sleeker’s founder, Phat, personally felt the pain points of both parties while spending the past three years launching apps for automotive businesses. He was also an Entrepreneur in Residence at Jaguar Land Rover and maintains a close relationship with them since they are one of Sleeker’s largest investors.

To watch:

Today, Sleeker is helping businesses communicate with drivers. In the world of tomorrow, they plan to help them communicate directly with vehicles.

9) Georges Clement

Snapshot:

Age: 27

Co-founders: Ashley Treni, Dan Kass

Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduate.

Company: JustFix.nyc.

“Technology for Housing Justice”

To date:

Launched in 2015, JustFix.nyc supports renters facing landlord harassment and neglected housing conditions with technology to build well-documented legal cases and connect with community and legal advocates. Founded by three Robin Hood Foundation Fellows, incubated by Blue Ridge Labs and Fast Forward, Grand Prize Winner of NYC BigApps 2015. Featured in Fast Company, Business Insider, ABC News.

To watch:

JustFix.nyc has planned expansion to two new cities in 2018.

10) Robert Harary

Snapshot:

Age: 20

Co-founders: Daita Goswamy

Education: George Washington University: Elliott School of International Affairs

Company: OneH.

“Connecting companies with investors from around the world based on what they have in common. “

To date:

Launching in 2017, OneH connects innovative technology companies with investors from around the world based on what they have in common. Before starting OneH, Robert was a marketing director at a publicly traded technology company before becoming one of the youngest angel group managers in the country through the firm he founded in his senior year of high school, GlassHorse Ventures. He sits on the advisory board of Silicon Valley companies alongside Guy Kawasaki and Leonardo DiCaprio. Daita is a serial entrepreneur. While attending New York University — where she majored in

The Political Economics of Disruptive Innovation — she founded Suppr, a mobile application that allows users to find new friends and restaurants in their city. With hundreds of companies applying to raise capital, OneH is gearing up for their launch.

To watch:

With hundreds of companies applying to raise capital, OneH is launching Briefs in September. Briefs are short, public snapshots of your business shareable with investors, friends, family and new partners that outline your market, business model, team and traction are as as easily updatable as a Facebook status. They’re currently raising their seed round to help fuel their growth and connect even more companies with the capital they need to build their vision to life. If you’re a startup looking to raise capital, meet new partners, or just get the word out about your business, create a Brief at OneH.com

 

11) Matt Gira

Snapshot:

Age: 23

Co-founders: Danny Vessells, John Boss

Education: Hope College, graduate.

Company: Fathom.

“The future of underwater exploration through an affordable, easy to use, underwater drone.”

To date:

Fathom is making underwater exploration accessible to the masses through their first product, the Fathom One, an affordable, easy to use, underwater drone. The Fathom One was launched on Kickstarter last fall, resulting in over $170,000 in pre-orders and most recently, Fathom is part of the latest class for TechStars Mobility.

To watch:

Fathom will be shipping their first units before the end of 2017 and will be at the TechStars Mobility Demo Day on October 18th in Detroit, Michigan.

12) Anthony Zhang

Snapshot:

Age: 22

Education: Thiel Fellowship.

Company: JoyRun.

‘JoyRun is a peer-to-peer platform that makes group deliveries within a community social, affordable and rewarding.’

To date:

Anthony joined JoyRun in December 2016 through the acquisition of his college food delivery platform, EnvoyNow. JoyRun announced a $8.6MM Series A round a couple months ago, and is rapidly is expanding to all universities in the US.

To watch:

Anthony is also a founding contributor at Advo, a millennial publication serving well-researched, unpretentious advice on etiquette and culture and is excited to unveil a new project very soon.

13) Cory Levy

Snapshot:

Age: 25

Co-founders: Michael Callahan

Education: University of Illinois, dropout.

Company: After School.

‘Replacing Facebook for teens’

To date:

After School launched in 2015, and presently has millions of teens as users on the app. Cory and the team recently raised a $16.4M Series A.

To watch:

The After School app will be expanding to new major markets, even hinting at a possible collegiate version of the application.

14) Jonathan Maxim

Snapshot:

Age: 29

Co-founders: Dhakshina Kasthuri

Education: SDSU, Bachelors & MBA.

Company: Vea Fitness

“Rewarding Fitness”

To date:

Vea Fitness, launched in September 2016 with $100K pre-seed funding, has helped Americans run, bike and walk over 27K miles and burn over 2.8M calories. In tandem with amazing partner brands New Balance, CORE Hydration, Thrive Market, Snap Kitchen and 25+ more healthy brands — Vea helps motivate people to workout through monthlong group fitness challenges where users can win $1,000+ in rewards just for working out, as well earn individual rewards like product discounts and free workout gear. With an average session time of 9:03 — double the industry index and 81% of challenge participants working out 7+ days in a row, it’s clear that by creating a fun, rewarding and social fitness experience has the power to transform lives and deeply engage communities.

To watch:

Vea Fitness is on track to close its 1.2M Seed round by EOY, and hit 15,000 users — and rolled out nationally with a big brand partner (non disclosed at this time), as well as seal it’s celebrity endorsement deal to reach a broader network of fitness influencers, and magnify its effect as a platform for engaging end users.

15) Regina Vatterott

Snapshot:

Age: 23

Co-founders: Abe Matamoros

Education: Dropout

Company: EllieGrid

“The Pill Box with Brains & Beauty”

To date:

Launched in 2015, EllieGrid is an IoT solution for medication management, projecting 980K units sold in four years ($100M revenue). EllieGrid is a profitable B2C product, that has run a successful crowdfunding campaign ($200k), and won 15+ awards around the country, including IBM Health Hackathon, and Health 2.0 in San Francisco. The team brought a hardware company to market with less than $100k.

To watch:

EllieGrid is currently raising their growth seed, hiring developers, and shipping in 2017.

16) Kai Kloepfer

Snapshot:

Age: 20

Education:MIT, sophomore.

Company: Biofire Technologies

“Building smarter guns with biometrics”

To date:

Biofire is building the future of firearms, incorporating smart technology into guns to greatly increase safety by recognizing the owner before firing. The startup has been covered in the WSJ, NYT, CBS Evening News and a viral video with over 30M views and continues to push to market. Currently raising a seed round lead by Ron Conway.

To watch:

Biofire will launch its first consumer Smart Gun soon.

17) Blake Marggraff

Snapshot:

Age: 24

Co-founders: Evan Huang, Avik Som, Joe McDonald

Education: Washington University in St. Louis, graduate.

Company: Epharmix

“Evidence-based digital health”

To date:

The Epharmix team’s mission is simple: be the standard of care in digital health. With twenty-three disease-specific tools and seven peer-reviewed journal publications since the company’s inception in 2015, Epharmix helps dozens of commercial and academic healthcare providers increase patient engagement and leverage outpatient care management to succeed in innovative at-risk contracts with payers and employers. Investors include XPRIZE founder Dr. Peter Diamandis, Nobel laureate Dr. Walter Gilbert, and HealthX Ventures.

To watch:

Epharmix is leveraging rare data to help move the healthcare industry from reactive to preventative, and the team is aggressively hiring this year.

18) Anne Kavanagh

Snapshot:

Age: 29

Co-founders: Sean McKenzie and UJ Rosas

Company: Zera (hellozera.com)

“It’s more than just listings, it’s living.”

To date:

Launched in beta in 2016, Zera has spent the last 12 months working on technology and molding product to adapt to the markets current needs. For the last 4 months they’ve been a fellow at 1776 on the Brooklyn navy yard campus and have been quietly working on some international and non for profit partnerships that will allow us to scale quickly over the 12 months to come. Zera is self funded and will be cash flow positive in the first 3 months of going live. Other recent “wins” include: top 12 in ebay startup challenge and top 100 startups by tech.co. Zera currently has over 58,000 properties available to search on the app. They are one of the first ai based real estate products to market that are focused on search and optimized living.

To watch:

Anne and her team will be expanding Zera as AI’s impact on real estate continues to grow.

19) Cade Netscher

Snapshot:

Age: 23

Co-founders: Noah Pritt

Education: Duke University, graduate.

Company: Neurun

“Neurun is an app that will help you find, sign up, and mentally prepare for your next race. “

To date:

Neurun is revolutionizing the way runners train their brain for a race. Within the last year, the company has been selected as one of the top 50 most innovative sport companies in the world for 2017 by the Hype Foundation, received over $400K in angel round funding, and is on track to close out over $1MM in contracts with major race series across the world.

To watch:

They plan to be at multiple races in every major US city by the end of 2018 and are anticipating their user base to grow by the thousands.

20) Joshua Miller

Snapshot:

Age: 23

Education: Duke University, senior.

Company: FarmShots

“Growing with you”

To date:

FarmShots builds products that solve key problems in agriculture using satellite imagery. With customers in 30+ countries, FarmShots serves ranchers, farmers, and insurance agencies world wide.

To watch:

FarmShots is expanding from its current line of 3 products to a set of ten in different verticals within agriculture.

 

https://medium.com/startup-grind/50-millennial-founders-their-startups-to-watch-in-2018-63b4c82c8b78

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