More Than 30 MIT Alumni Named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Lists

by Jay London on January 8, 2015 · 4 comments

in Alumni Life, In the News, Public Service, Research

Image via @Forbes.

Image via @Forbes.

Forbes magazine’s  fourth annual 30 Under 30 lists highlight the world’s best “game changers, movers and makers, and brightest minds” who are less than 30 years old. Nearly 50 with MIT ties are scattered throughout the lists’ 20 categories, including more than 30 alumni* and one graduate from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

According to Forbes, MIT was the second most-common alma mater among the 600 selections. Read Slice’s list of under-30 alumni  who were selected below then visit MIT Spectrum to see the MIT students, faculty, and researchers who were also selected. (All images courtesy of Forbes unless otherwise noted.)

acosta_sessions_borderArron Acosta ’10

Blake Sessions ’11 (Manufacturing)
Cofounders, Rise Robotics

“(Rise Robotics) makes robotic parts inspired by biological systems with an aim to lowering the cost of parts for larger, more complex robots.”

adibFadel Adib SM ’13 (Enterprise Technology)
Doctoral Candidate, MIT

“Adib was part of the team that created WiTrack, a spin on Wi-Fi that uses a radio signal to track movements with incredible accuracy.”

Related:Which MIT Alumni Were Named to Tech Review’s TR35?

advaniAman Advani G
Gihan Amarasiriwardena ’11 (Retail)
Cofounders, Ministry of Supply

“Ministry launched on Kickstarter in 2012 and has gone to have some of the most successful fashion campaigns in the platform’s history.”

Related:The NASA-Influenced Dress Shirt
Alum-Designed Socks Made with Cotton, Poly, and…Coffee

blanchetGabe Blanchet ’14
Jamie Byron ’13 (Manufacturing)
Cofounders, Grove Labs

“Grove Labs allows customers to grow fresh fruits and vegetables year-round. The company has raised over $2 million in funding.”

Related:Making Green by Growing Greens…with Fish

brooksAlice Brooks ’10 (Manufacturing)
Cofounder, Roominate

“Brooks started Roominate, which makes building toys for girls…Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner invested $500,000 to share a 5% stake in the business when it appeared on Shark Tank.”

Related:A Dollhouse, Hacked

cinnamonIan Cinnamon ’14 (Healthcare)
Director of Strategy, Immunity Project

“Immunity Project is searching for an HIV vaccine using powerful computers. Cinnamon helped the cause by organizing a crowd-funding campaign and by helping win funding from Y Combinator.”

EmoriSatoru Emori  PhD ’14 (Science)
Postdoctoral Scientist, Northeastern University

“Emori developed new ways to control magnetism with electricity, a finding that could lead to energy efficient computers and memory storage.”

french owenCalvin French-Owen ’12
llya Volodarsky ’12
Peter Reinhardt ’12 (Enterprise Technology)
Cofounders, Segment

“In the past year, Segment has grown from just four cofounders with no revenue to a staff of 30 who have raised $17.6 million in funding.”

shyamShyam Gollakota SM ’08, PhD ’13 (Energy)
Assistant Professor, University of Washington

“(Gollakota) builds sensors that glean their power by absorbing tiny amounts of energy from the fog of ambient radio waves (from TV stations, cell towers, Wi-Fi) all around us.”

ishaaanIshaan Gulrajani ’16 (Enterprise Technology)
Cofounder, Watchsend

“Gulrajani dropped out of MIT to start a company allows developers to record users’ phone screens in order to learn and improve their app. Last year he organized HackMIT.”

guptaKrishna Gupta ’09 (Venture Capital)
Cofounder, Romulus Capital

“(Romulus) recently raised a $50 million fund to invest in early-stage startups. Gupta raised the first Romulus fund in 2008 while a student at MIT.”

HeDavid He SM ’08, PhD ’13 (Healthcare)
Cofounder, Quanttus

“David He’s MIT PhD thesis turned into a startup using wearables to transform heart health. His company, Quanttus, has 57 employees and has raised $22 million.”

Haid_borderChris Haid ’14
Cofounder, NVBOTS

“Haid cofounded NVBOTS, which has developed automated 3D-printers which can run 24/7 with little human intervention.”

Related:Alum-Founded Company Provides 3D Printers to Schools

HodisEran Hodis G (Science)
Doctoral student, Harvard University-MIT Division of Health Sciences

“(Hodis) discovered a pair of mutations that…help explain how it is that cancer cells increase the production of an enzyme called telomerase, making themselves virtually immortal.”

huaNancy Hua ’07 (Enterprise Technology)
Founder, Apptimize

“Hua’s company created software that helps mobile teams build and tune apps faster through A/B testing.”

huangMatt Huang ’10 (Venture Capital)
Partner, Sequoia Capital

“Huang spent time in Twitter’s ad analytics team before joining Sequoia Capital in February. The MIT grad works on investments like Reddit and Yik Yak for the firm.”

jueDiana Jue ’09, MCP ’12 (Social Entrepreneurs)
Cofounder, Essmart

“Essmart is a distribution system that brings life-improving technologies to poor areas in India. Local people act as sales reps to bring these products to mom and pop shops in Southern India.”

levyBenjamin Levy G (Education)
Founder, eduCanon

“eduCanon is an interactive video learning tool that allows teachers to create their own Khan Academy. In 15 months it has attracted 50,000 teachers and 300,000 registered students.”

miguelAlain Miguel G (Retail)
Cofounder, Modalyst

“(Miguel) is the founder of Modalyst, an online wholesale platform that helps brands expand distribution to traditional and ecommerce retailers.”

misraVinith Misra ’08, MEng ’08 (Enterprise Technology)
Researcher, IBM Watson Group

“Misra joined IBM’s Watson Group, working at its Almaden Research Lab to study machine learning, data mining, and natural language processing.”

Related:Who Coded Pied Piper for HBO’s Silicon Valley?

sabrinaSabrina Pasterski ’14 (Science)
Doctoral candidate, Harvard University

“Her second-ever paper was recommended as an editor’s suggestion in Physical Review Letters…She was the first woman to graduate at the top of her undergrad program in 20 years.”

Related:Video Features Airplane-Building MIT Student

nevadaNevada Sanchez ’10, MEng ’11 (Science)
Cofounder, Butterfly Network

“(Sanchez) became employee number one at Butterfly Network, which has raised $100 million in seed funding and whose first device should hit the market next year.”

samuelSamuel Shames ’14 (Energy)
Cofounder, Embr Labs

“Shames’ startup developed Wristify, the first stylish bracelet that actively heats and cools to help the wearer be comfortable and buildings save energy.”

Related:Wristify: Thermal Comfort via a Wrist Band

armonArmon Sharei SM ’13, PhD ’13 (Healthcare)
Cofounder, SQZ Biotech

“Armon Sharei created a new technology that can deliver materials into living cells. The device, CellSqueeze, promises to be useful in drug discovery and therapeutics.”

singCharles Sing PhD ’12 (Science)
Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“Sing uses computational and theoretical tools to study the physics of polymers…The idea is to figure out how scientists can make new chemicals in silico.”

smithDave Smith SM ’11 (Energy)
Founder, LiquiGlide

“LiquiGlide makes coatings that create permanently wet, slippery surfaces — which could forever end the frustration of getting the last ketchup out of the bottom of the bottle.”

Related:The Condiment Conundrum: Solved?

sutherlandDerek Sutherland ’12 (Energy)
PhD candidate, University of Washington

“(Sutherland) is working on new configurations of magnetic fusion reactors and recently published a concept study on a reactor device called the dynomak.”

vogtKyle Vogt ’08 (Enterprise Technology)
CEO, Cruise Automation

“After co-founding, Socialcam and Twitch, Vogt now runs Cruise, an automated driving startup that could beat Google’s self-driving cars to market.”

wiensJenna Wiens SM ’10, PhD ’14 (Science)
Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

“Wiens has studied how machine learning techniques can be used to identify patients at highest risk for infection from the bacteria (clostridium difficile), so that infections might be prevented.”

yuanXing Yuan ’08 (Finance)
Vice President, Morgan Stanley

“Heads investment bank’s commodities index trading. Born in Beijing, moved to the U.S. at age 10. Black belt in Taekwondo and member of U.S. junior national team for bridge.”

Yan_ZhuYan Zhu ’12 (Enterprise Technology)
Privacy Engineer, Yahoo!

“(Zhu) gained notoriety for attending a mathematics conference where she attempted to dissuade attendees from joining the NSA due to concerns about the agency’s overreach.”

View the entire list of under-30 innovators, which also includes Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology alumna Alison Hill and MIT-Portugal Program alumna Maria Pereira, at

Are there more under-30 alumni that we missed or that you feel should be nominated for 2016? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

*—Any undergraduate student who completes one semester at MIT or any graduate student who completes one academic year at MIT is considered an MIT alumnus or alumnae.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

David Stiebel January 23, 2015 at 1:00 am

Not sure if I’d make the cut, but I’d love to recommend myself for this list (founded PawnGuru last year). But the list should for sure include Noah Jessop, founder of CommandIQ.


Travis Miller January 23, 2015 at 10:59 am

Sarah Kearney is a graduate of the MIT TPP program, and a wonderful person all around.


Olga Botvinnik January 5, 2016 at 6:58 am

Reid van lehn is an ’09 who is on the list for science. Yeah dancetroupe!


Jay London January 7, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Hi Olga,

This article refers to the 2015 list. Reid was named to the 2016 list; that story is here:

Thanks for reading!

Jay London


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