30 Under 30 Makers + Shakers: Tech
Categories: Brit's Blog

30 Under 30 Makers + Shakers: Tech

We’ve teamed up with PayPal to introduce you to 30 makers under 30 who are shaking up their respective industries. First, you read about makers in the fashion, beauty and jewelry industry. Then, we intro’d you to folks in the home and food industry.  Now, it’s time for the last installment of our Makers + Shakers series! Before we dive in, be sure to check out PayPal’s Voices video, in which they highlight what they’ve described as the new People Economy. Watch closely and you might spot me. ;)

Okay, on to our final batch of incredibly talented makers. This post is all about folks in the tech industry. Read on for the full scoop.

 

Lisa Fetterman, 27

Lisa is the co-founder and CEO of Nomiku. Nomiku is the world’s most compact immersion circulator AND one of our favorite high-tech kitchen gadgets. It lets home chefs (like us!) easily sous-vide their way to a five-star meal. Foodies, rejoice!

In five words or less, tell us why you love to make. 

Connecting with other passionate makers.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I’m inspired by everyone who is true to themselves and creates what they want to see in the world, and they’re not limited to chefs like Joshua Skenes, Rene Redzepi, and Dominique Crenn. It’s amazing to see a product made by someone who used every ounce of their energy and creativity to make it. Seeing others do it makes me believe I can do it for myself.

How do you think the maker movement fuels the people economy? 

The Maker Movement is radical: it’s changing the economy from the bottom up. Take an example like crowdfunding, which goes pretty hand-in-hand with makers. Only 1-6% of VC money goes to women-lead companies. On Kickstarter, women’s projects are more likely to get fully funded, especially in tech. Now there’s some hope! Makers can make anything because they are willing to learn: change is coming so quickly from our front we’re getting impossible to ignore. (Photos: Lisa Fetterman, Nomiku)

 

Jesse Genet, 26

Jesse is the founder of Lumi. We’ve been obsessed with Inkodye, her sunlight-activated fabric dye, since it came out. It’s an innovation in dyeing and screenprinting that is totally bananas… in a good way!

In five words or less, tell us why you love to make. 

Understanding the world around me.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I am a voracious reader, mainly classics and biographies. Reading historical fiction and biographies from incredible individuals helps me spot patterns in human nature and inspires me to live my own lifetime to the fullest. One of my favorites is Buffalo Bill’s autobiography: he eloquently recounts a life of adventure, beauty and cultural upheaval that we can only get a glimpse of through text. I’m inspired by what those who’ve come before me have experienced and achieved.

How do you think the maker movement fuels the people economy?

We live in a very special time. If you’re ambitious you can educate yourself on nearly everything online (e.g. Skillshare, Kahn Academy), prototype your ideas with rapid prototyping or a local makerspace (eg. Techshop), and test how well your idea sells (e.g. Kickstarter, Etsy). All of this can be achieved by spending hundreds of dollars, not the hundreds of thousands required in the past. The technologies now exist to fuel the people economy, but what the Maker Movement adds that is sometimes overlooked is the amazingly supportive community. The hardest part to launching a new idea sometimes isn’t finding the right way to prototype, but overcoming your fear of doing something new! (Photos: Lumi)

 

Ben Kaufman, 28

Ben is the founder and CEO of Quirky, an invention-crowdsourcing startup. How does it work? People submit ideas to Quirky for consideration, and the most popular ideas are turned into real-life products. Pretty freaking cool!

In five words or less, tell us why you love to make.

I actually love to break first (then make).

Where do you get your inspiration? 

Everywhere.

How do you think the maker movement fuels the people economy? 

It empowers creative people. We have over a million people in our community collaborating to bring their products to life. (Photos: Quirky)

 

Ezra Spier, 28

Ezra is the Director of Community at Other Machine Co. OMC is making design and manufacturing easy (and fun!) with their desktop CNC milling machine. Their Othermill is a portable 3D cutting machine perfect for making intricate crafts, from jewelry and engravings to block prints, stamps, and wood carvings.

In five words or less, tell us why you love to make. 

Making things means understanding things.

Where do you get your inspiration? 

I like to know how things work, and the best way to learn is to try to make them myself. When I see things broken around me, I dig in, work through my ideas, make mistakes, and learn as much as I can.

How do you think the maker movement fuels the people economy? 

The better people understand, and can adapt to, the world around them, the better they can solve their own problems and improve their own communities. The Maker Movement is all about reclaiming ownership of the world around us, and getting our hands dirty. This kind of creative, direct problem solving will strengthen and propel the economy forward. (Photos: Ezra Spier, Other Machine Co.)

 

Aaron Rowley, 24

Aaron is the co-founder of Electroloom. He and his business partners, Joe White and Marcus Foley, are the inventors of a 3D printer for fabrics. One day soon, you’ll be able to push a button and print the outfit of your dreams thanks to these guys. #weliveinthefuture

In five words or less, tell us why you love to make.

Making connects and empowers us.

Where do you get your inspiration?

A lot of it comes from geeky things: science fiction novels, video games, things I learned in academia. I am also a huge spoken word poetry fan: it’s such a vulnerable and honest medium to tell stories with. And while not explicitly related to tech, I find that empathizing more with the human experience is the best form of inspiration for making a positive impact in this world.

How do you think the maker movement fuels the people economy?

I think the most important and impressive thing about the maker movement is that it has created such a powerful community. We are our own cheerleaders, enthusiasts, and backers. I think the community thrives because ultimately, each small success that people have in this space is a leap forward for us all. The fact that I can be in a maker space and watch a preteen and someone over 70 years old talk and collaborate on a project is incredibly unique. The movement transcends age — borders, even — through accessible technology. I think that is the fundamental key to all of this. People can create, no matter who they are, without the need for special training or courses. They have the confidence that they are part of a supportive and global community. (Photos: Aaron Rowley)

 

Ben Jacobs, 27

Ben is the founder of Whistle, a company that makes activity trackers for dogs. With Whistle, you can monitor your pup’s exercise, sleep and overall health. PLUS, you can track it all on your smartphone.

In five words or less, tell us why you love to make.

Improving the lives of pets

Where do you get your inspiration?

I’m constantly inspired by the team at Whistle — humans and dogs alike. In our office there are always people designing, crafting, coding, innovating and fine-tuning new ideas. Watching talented experts collaborate on a platform like Whistle is energizing. Everyone pushes themselves to their creative limits each day, and I never want to cut corners or settle as I know our entire team is striving to deliver their best.

How do you think the maker movement fuels the people economy?

Invention begets invention. It’s easier than ever before to connect with other creators and get your ideas out into the wild. As you see the maker movement continue to bring new ideas and concepts to life, it acts like a snowball rolling downhill. The Maker Movement helps individuals realize they have the ability to actively participate in the people economy by adding their own spin on an idea and introducing it to a creative community. In our case, that community involves veterinarians as well as consumers — not to mention all our beloved canine companions. (Photos: Whistle)

 

Tanya Menendez, 26

Tanya is the co-founder and COO of Maker’s Row, an online marketplace for American manufacturers. She and her business partner, Matthew Burnett, are revolutionizing factory sourcing as we know it and helping small businesses along the way.

In five words or less, tell us why you love to make.

It’s about pushing creative boundaries.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Talking to customers.

How do you think the maker movement fuels the people economy?

Individuals are able to create products that solve problems, for their own communities. (Photos: Tanya Menendez)

 

Ryan Minarik, 26

Ryan is the founder of BOOM Movement, a SoCal-based company that makes quality sound products. Their portable waterproof speakers are a hit at Brit HQ… and the perfect stocking stuffers! Just sayin’. :)

In five words or less, tell us why you love to make.

Explore my brain. Pursue passions.

Where do you get your inspiration?

All aspects of life and adventure inspire me. At BOOM we focus on creating products that are Ready 4 Anything (durable, flexible, & in some cases waterproof), so it is important to accept and try as many new things/activities as I can get my hands on. Besides that, I utilize surfing, skateboarding, creating art and music to help clear my mind, get inspired and break away from the constant hustle.

How do you think the maker movement fuels the people economy?

Makers drive the economy through their passion to create from original ideas, deemed desirable by people. These ideas formulate the foundation of businesses, goods or services which in turn create jobs by stimulating production, distribution, trade and consumption of end products. Makers can either create and drive business on their own, or integrate their secret sauce as a part of other businesses. Ultimately, makers’ creations fuel the economy by delivering value to people’s desires and needs, which stimulate all aspects of the economy. (Photos: Ryan Minarik)

Liz Lian, 21

Liz is the co-founder of 38th&Wick. We’ve been head over heels for her party-proof dress ever since the concept debuted on Kickstarter. It’s a next-level LBD made of high-performance, moisture-wicking fabric. It’s equipped with pockets for your smartphone, and it’s nearly impossible to stain. Um, how soon can we get one?!

In five words or less, tell us why you love to make.

Making things makes life better.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My co-founder, Sanibel Chai, and I originally started our company after being inspired to fix an everyday problem. That problem was how normal, mass-produced clothing we were so accustomed to wearing wasn’t being made with the lives and needs of their wearers in mind. In response to this problem, we decided to make our own line of little black dresses, skirts, and tops made from moisture-wicking, four-way stretch, performance fabric. We worked with our designer and patternmaker to create a line that is flattering, comfortable, and responsive to women’s needs. We get our inspiration from our friends and customers. They know what they want.

How do you think the maker movement fuels the people economy?

After seeing all the work that was put into our first line and people’s responses to it, I realized how important each individual person is to the creation of a really worthwhile and lasting product. We love being able to hear what our customers want and turn it into a product because we are directly involved in every step of the making of a product. More importantly, it makes people happy because it brings us all one step closer to solving a problem and making life a little easier. (Photos: Liz Lian)

 

Yuki Nishida, 25

Yuki is the founder of AgIC, a Tokyo and Silicon Valley-based tech startup. The company helps you easily make your own electric circuits at home. They sell a rad at-home circuit printer kit and just created the world’s first erasable conductivity marker.

In five words or less, tell us why you love to make.

To entertain people.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Shopping and conversation with my friends.

How do you think the maker movement fuels the people economy?

The Maker Movement is opening a new paradigm of economy where we make and trade things with story and creativity. We see more unique products in the market and can add originality to things by ourselves. The power of making is pretty impressive — I learned that there is nothing better than an actual demo to convey a story and show creativity with our products. The power of the Maker Movement will certainly fuel the people economy — by being part of it, I hope I can bring more fun to people. (Photos: Yuki Nishida, AgIC)

What do YOU think of these makers and shakers? Drop us a line on Twitter!

This post is a collaboration with PayPal