Catching up With Last Year's 30 Under 30
Bauble Bar Contently HeyZap 2torBack to the Roots SpotifyPinterestUnreasonable Institute School House
It seems like only last year the 30 Under 30 Class of 2012 were ushering in a new era of jobs, phone apps, and ideas.
Some brought manufacturing back to the States, while others made their mark on mushroom farming and games.
We caught up with our favorite trailblazers to see what they're up to now.
Warby Parker may have made a splash with its physical store, but Bauble Bar, the online jewelry store co-founded by Daniella Yacobvsky and Amy Jain, isn't quite ready to take the plunge.
"If we can get people touching and feeling our product, it's a huge win for us," Jain told AdAge, "but we're a start-up in the classic sense, and we're resource-restrained."
For now, Jain says the company's focused on identifying what works offline while balancing creative collaborations with the likes of Luv Aj, another affordable jewelry site, as part of its newly launched "Guest Bartender" project.
What started as a way for companies looking for content to partner with talented writers and journalists who could provide it has evolved into a full-fledged marketplace.
"In the last year, Contently added a software-as-a-service component to its business model, further shifting our focus toward enterprise brands and agencies," says co-founder Shane Snow.
"Since making Inc.'s 30 Under 30 last year, we've beaten our annual revenue projections, doubled our staff, and begun working with brands like Liberty Mutual and Chase, agencies like Weber Shandwick and Edelman, and media companies like Forbes and The Atlantic."
Melding social networking and games with the "where's it at" component of mobile made HeyZap an app to watch.
In January, the start-up confirmed a new round of $4.3 million led by Union Square and Qualcomm that brought its total funding to $8 million.
HeyZap is also the first company to pay game developers in bitcoins using its monetization products, as VentureBeat has reported.
The gaming app added another monetary component to its business with an SDK that lets developers make money from helping users find games, says co-founder Jude Gomilla.
"This has become a really important part of HeyZap's business and many of the largest game developers are using HeyZap for monetization and user acquisition," he says.
The past year has been a good one to 2tor, the online education start-up founded by Jeremy Tor, a self-described college dropout.
In May, 2tor launched Simmons College's first online-only nursing degree, which aims to take the respected graduate program nationwide.
Boston College also partnered with 2tor's program, Semester Online, to offer for-credit online courses to undergrad students. The program launches this fall.
Nikhil Arora and Alex Valez of Back to the Roots have kept busy over the past year, adding a cool new aquaphonics product to their roster called the AquaFarm. The product garnered enough buzz to get the founders on NBC's "Today Show" as well as the TED Talk conference, and other programs.
Back to the Roots is also highly visible online, thanks to their keen understanding of Facebook. When the founders noticed parents and kids were sharing photos of their kits, they donated kits to elementary schools in exchange for posted photos.
Not only did their Facebook page soar to 20,000 likes in a year, that community helped drive their second successful Kickstarter campaign for the AquaFarm.
Since 2012, it's become almost impossible to go a day without hearing some Spotify news.
The online music subscription service--which now boasts more than 24 million active monthly users, with 6 million of them paying customers, according to The Los Angeles Times--is available on iPhone, iPad, Android, and desktop. A web player is still in beta, but is expected to go live this year.
Meanwhile the music subscription wars are heating up. Google announced its own rival service in May, while Twitter launched @TwitterMusic, a discovery iOS app, in April.
Even in its early days, Pinterest was nothing less than a social media star. Now the site is the biggest traffic generator for e-commerce websites, according to Monetate's quarterly report, and has largely positioned itself as a Google-type search engine, as AdAge's Eric Fulwiler notes.
In May, Pinterest launched "rich pins," which include information such as prices and where to buy. It's a feature that speaks to the company's move toward SAO--social aggregation optimization, which means Pinterest will play an even larger role in helping brands create discoverable, shareable content.
Most not-for-profits aim to solve problems on a local scale, but not The Unreasonable Institute.
The brainchild of Tyler Hartung, Daniel Epstein, and Teju Ravilochan is an accelerator program for civic-minded entrepreneurs who raise their tuition via online crowdfunding.
This year, the start-up completed Unreasonable at Sea, a joint project with Semester at Sea and George Kembel, co-founder and executive director of Stanford d.school. The project, which was the first of its kind, provided mentoring and guidance to 11 fledgling start-ups.
Rachel Weeks caught our eye last year with her colorful, college-branded apparel.
Now the entrepreneur's expanded her fashion-forward line with a sweet range of jewelry, or what she lovingly calls "collegiate bling."
The new items include such keepsakes as a sterling silver locket engraved with MIT equations, vintage heart-shaped studs, and a cuff bracelet engraved with Yale's namesake.