Three judges, expert in enterprise tech, helped vet candidates and were key to honing the list. This year’s judges are: Douglas Leone, managing partner, Sequoia Capital; Jeff Lawson, cofounder and CEO, Twilio; and 2016 Under 30 alumna Maran Nelson, cofounder and CEO, Clara Labs.
Many entrepreneurs on the list were inspired to create something after experiencing frustration with a task in their own lives. This was the case for 27-year-old Mitchell Hashimoto, cofounder of HashiCorp, featured in Forbes’ print edition. The time sink of priming computers with software at client sites while working at a consulting firm prompted him to write code automating the process. His software, called Vagrant, cut down set up time from about 15 hours to 15 minutes and became the first product of the company he later cofounded with Armon Dadgar, 25. HashiCorp now boasts seven open source products and a roster of blue-chip customers, including eBay, Disney, PayPal, Stripe and nearly every U.S. bank.
“Every company is realizing the traditional way of doing IT isn’t going to scale,” Hashimoto said in an interview. “Tractor companies or insurance companies want to focus on their business, not on building the delivery mechanism for their software.”
Another notable trend on the list is growing integration among enterprise tools. At Front App, cofounder Mathilde Collin, 27, built a collaborative inbox for businesses that features email integration and partnerships with more than 20 companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and Instagram. Similarly, at Zapier, Mike Knoop, 27, and Wade Foster, 29, built a tool to help share information and automate workflows between more than 750 different services, including Gmail, Slack and Google Sheets. Another example is Scott Britton, 28, whose startup, Troops.ai, helps sales teams perform CRM functions within messaging interfaces like Slack. And at the more established Slack, head of platform marketing, Cecilia Stallsmith, 27, leads a team that brings customers, developers and partners like Salesforce and Google on to the platform.
The list also features several under thirties focused on security. Jobert Abma and Michiel Prins, both 26, cofounded HackerOne to identify and fix companies’ security vulnerabilities by bringing friendly hackers, startups and government groups together. The startup has raised $34 million in funding from investors such as Bill Gurley of Benchmark, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and has paid hackers about $12 million in bug bounties. And Telesign, cofounded by Ryan Disraeli, 29, pioneered mobile phone-based two-factor authentication, a security service protecting billions of online accounts globally — the company now has 300 employees and annual revenue exceeding $100 million.
Other list members build tools for programmers. Quinn Slack, 28, and Beyang Liu, 27, cofounders of Sourcegraph, create code intelligence software to help developers be productive and now have 300,000 direct product users. And Ukraine-based Dmitriy Zaporozhets, 29, cofounded GitLab to build open source tools to help teams of developers collaborate more easily and review and deploy code on the go. Millions of programmers and more than 110,000 organizations such as NASA, AT&T and IBM use the tool.
The list also features a few star employees at larger companies. Kylan Nieh, 24, became the youngest senior product manager at LinkedIn at 23. Nieh currently leads LinkedIn Students and started his own public speaking and leadership course at the University of California, Berkeley. Raphael Arar, 29, is a principal designer at IBM and leads a long-term project called Cognitive UX, which aims to create context-sensitive user experiences that change based on the user’s needs; he also lectures at the University of Southern California. And Jessica McKellar, 29, is the director of engineering at Dropbox, which she joined three years ago when the company acquired her real-time collaboration startup Zulip.
Silicon Valley continues to be the heart of enterprise tech. The majority of list members are based in the Bay Area; five list members are based in New York City, two are based in Los Angeles, Calif., one is based in Cambridge, Mass., one is based in Belfast, North Ireland and one is based in Ukraine. The youngest list members are Mackenzie Burnett and Dan Gillespie, 23-year-olds who cofounded Redspread Inc., a collaborative software deployment tool and Y Combinator alum, which was acquired by CoreOS.
Many list members immigrated to the U.S. Mathilde Collin (Front App) is from Paris, France; Hany Rashwan, 26, (Payout.com) is from Cairo, Egypt; Laura Behrens Wu, 25, and Simon Kreuz, 27, (Shippo) are from Bonn and Nuremberg, Germany, respectively; Beyang Liu (Sourcegraph) is from Zhengzhou, China; Payam Banazadeh, 25, (Capella Space) is from Tehran, Iran; Larry Gadea, 29, (Envoy) immigrated to the U.S. from Ottawa, Canada; Michiel Prins (HackerOne) is from Drachten, the Netherlands; and Chris Maddern, 28, (Button) is from London, England.