A common trait among our 30 Under 40 entrepreneurs is that they didn't always start out with the dream to launch a startup. (Everyone would rather be Derek Jeter than the guy who invented baseball.) See how an aspiring doctor, mechanical engineer, and two soldiers got lured into tech.
Before there was Google Glass, Brian Ballard
's APX Labs was writing software in 2010 to power future "smart glasses
" for enterprise users. Now the firm has over 50 employees working on powering
the user interfaces and server side applications of these mobile devices. Brian, 33, says 2014 is going to be a breakout year for Smart Glasses, and he says APX has a good head start
. On the side, he paints
and airbrushes, plays lacrosse
, and races motorcycles
. (As if startup life wasn't daring enough.) Best business lesson
: Trust yourself, your team, and your experiences to guide your business rather than the trap of overthinking. When you do act, always work with integrity as your foundation.
Veenome founder Kevin Lenane
was close to becoming Dr. Lenane, MD. He took a one-year program at Georgetown to prepare for med school
and realized that he really liked building apps, which is what he did during undergrad at Wesleyan. Veenome has an API that lets ad networks, advertisers, and publishers know all about what video content
is before they serve ads in front of it. The young startup has signed some big clients
like Collective and BrightRoll, and Kevin, 33, has hired some senior developers
to push the company further into self service
. The native Bostonian once played college football as a defensive tackle
and spends his free time on yoga and finding cheap travel deals. Best business lesson
: Never focus on one deal, one investor, one customer, one feature. It's always good to have many pots on the stove.
Blake Hall and Matt Thompson
, 30, and Matt Thompson
, 33, met at Harvard Business School after serving combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The former Army rangers
traded their combat boots for laptops to start ID.me, an online service that validates
the identity of soldiers, students, and first responders so they can receive discounts
offered by retailers and other organizations. The business evolved from a daily deals service for military families to a distributed identity
product that lives on third-party sites
. Best lessons: Blake—Take individual responsibility
when things go wrong; pass along credit
to the team when things go right. Matt—Devote
yourself completely and never surrender faith
See below for recent news from ID.me.
Well before he could even rent a car, Grant Verstandig
launched Audax Health at the tender age of 21. The DC company has created fun online tools
for people to track their health
through partnerships with insurance companies and employers like Cigna, ValueOptions, and Cardinal Health. In over three years, it's raised over $55M
in funding, opened offices
in DC and San Francisco, hired 100 employees
, and recruited board members and execs like former Apple CEO John Sculley
, TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson
, and former Zynga COO David Ko
. Grant says the benefit and challenge to being so young is he doesn't have the scars
from past failures. Best business lesson
: Hire great people and get out of their way.
Three things you may not know about Siteworx founder Tim McLaughlin
: he studied to be a mechanical engineer; he pursued a minor in music; and he lived in Scotland for a year. But what put the 37-year-old on this list is his digital agency
of over 200 employees that has done all kinds of content management and web and mobile work for clients
like Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Time Warner Cable, AARP, and Citrix Online. One recent highlight
was getting funding
from RLH Equity Partners, a private equity firm that focuses on professional services businesses. Best business lesson
: Pick good partners at home and work. A spouse can provide continuous support at home, which Tim says is a major part of his success.
Big thanks to our great partners in this process: New Atlantic Ventures, Greenberg Traurig, Deloitte, Jones Lang LaSalle, the Rosslyn BID, and Susan Groter from Insperity. We have many more talented entrepreneurs to feature in next week's Tech Bisnow.
companies were chosen by the White House yesterday to develop ways to make online
and more reliable
for the public. (We suggested taking away the e-mail privileges of the Nigerian royal family
and are still awaiting our funding.) They'll get $7M in grants
as part of the The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace program, launched by the administration in 2011
and housed at NIST. One of those companies was McLean, Va.-based ID.me, which is getting a $1.2M grant
to develop a way for military
families to access sensitive
information online from government agencies, financial institutions, and health care organizations in a private and safe way. The other organizations
receiving grants are Exponent, Georgia Tech Research Corp, Privacy Vaults Online, and Transglobal Secure Collaboration Participation.