3. Brian Wong, Founder and CEO of Kiip
“Remember that you are the most powerful force in your own life. It’s up to you to trust in your ideas and take the initiative to pursue them.” – Brian Wong (Source: YFS Magazine)Brian Wong is redefining mobile as the co-founder and CEO of Kiip (pronounced “keep”), a mobile rewards network. The 22-year-old, Canadian born entrepreneur skipped four grades and finished college at 18 years old. A year later, 19-year-old Wong was laid off from his first real job at Digg.
The devastating turn of events led him to an idea which would garner $200,000 in venture funding — a mobile gaming ad model that was destined to disrupt in-game mobile advertising.
To-date the company has raised $15.4 million in funding and Wong has been hailed the youngest person to ever receive venture capital funding by CNBC and The Wall Street Journal. Connect with Brian on Twitter.
4. Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy, Co-founders of Mixed Chicks
“We were the underdogs and the obstacles were stacked against us, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it — you don’t give up.” – Kim Etheredge (Source: YFS Magazine)Mixed Chicks co-founders, Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy, were introduced at a family gathering – the two women instantly hit it off. Etheredge and Levy quickly realized they both shared a common problem as women of mixed heritage: the frustration of using multiple products to tame their curly locks.
As their friendship developed they recognized their dilemma could become a viable business. The two would-be entrepreneurs set out to develop specialized hair care products for women of mixed race.
Little did they know they would start a curly revolution.
Over the years, the Mixed Chicks brand steadily grew and attracted the attention of larger competitors. In 2011, Etheredge and Levy learned, through other retailers, that Sally Beauty Supply had infringed on their trademarks. After a lengthy, David and Goliath-like, legal battle the jury decided in favor of Mixed Chicks, concluding the company suffered “$839,535 in actual damages, and that Sally Beauty had acted willfully and with malice, oppression, or fraud, resulting in a punitive damages award of $7.27 million.” (Source: YFS Magazine) Connect with Mixed Chicks on Twitter.
5. Scott Harrison, Founder and CEO of Charity Water
“What would the opposite of my life look like?” – Scott Harrison (Source: Charity Water)At 28-years-old, Scott Harrison had a “crisis of conscience” during an overseas vacation. Harrison made a living in New York City promoting nightclubs and fashion events, for the most part “living selfishly and arrogantly,” he says. He was desperately unhappy and recalled feeling like “the most selfish, sycophantic and miserable human being” and “the worst person I knew.”
Soon everything would change.
Understanding the need, Harrison decided to commit to a life of service. He realized that a lack of clean water was the biggest obstacle facing impoverished societies. After returning to the states, from Africa in 2006, he started charity: water. Six years later the charity has raised over $95 million, and funded 8,000+ water projects in 20 countries to provide access to clean drinking water for over 3.2 million people. Connect with Scott on Twitter.
6. Angela Jia Kim, Co-founder and CEO of Savor the Success
“Resilience is the name of the game in entrepreneurship! If you add that to creativity and savvy smarts, you have a killer brand.” – Angela Jia Kim (Source: SheBrand)Angela Jia Kim didn’t start her career with aspirations of entrepreneurship. Instead the former award-winning classical pianist stumbled upon entrepreneurship while touring as a concert pianist. Today, Angela Jia Kim is the CEO and Founder of Om Aroma, a luxury organic skincare line; Savor Spa, an eco-chic boutique spa and the co-founder of SavortheSuccess.com, a niche social network for women entrepreneurs.
Angela Jia Kim discovered her business-calling as she prepared to step on stage while touring. Unexpectedly, she had developed an allergic reaction to a body lotion that was applied prior to her performance. The show went on, but she left the venue with a new thought and determination.
The success of her products led Jia Kim to launch a sister company, Savor Spa, in 2007. Two years later, in 2009, her passion for business led the two-time entrepreneur to a third venture – Savor the Success, a premium business network for women entrepreneurs. Today Jia Kim is at the helm of the growing network that aims to fuel the success of women-led businesses. The company also hosts an annual Women Entrepreneurs Rock the World conference in NYC. Connect with Angela on Twitter.