You’ve heard of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, but what about the movers and shakers who are still rocking it in their careers after 45? Today, we’ll look at some of the top entrepreneurs from a variety of industries, and celebrate the amazing work they’re doing to change the world.
Quick Stats About This List:
- We spent 100+ hours researching the best candidates.
- Over 1000 candidates were considered.
- Less than 5% of all candidates were accepted.
Here are the top 45 entrepreneurs over 45 who are shaking things up in the business world.
NAME: Ebba Blitz, CEO
WHY: Ebba Blitz is one of the most remarkable female CEOs in the cyber security industry. She began her career in broadcast television and was a prior host of Sweden’s version of Shark Tank.
A female who has been engulfed in the technology industry since she was a young girl in coding classes, Blitz has a passion for data privacy and protection.
NAME: Josh Stella, Co-Founder and CEO
WHY: Stella is set to disrupt how companies use cloud technology – by democratizing enterprise cloud computing with speed, visibility, and one highly adaptive source of system truth. He’s the perfect guy to do it as co-founder and CEO of Fugue, the company automating infrastructure and policy-as-code to deliver fast, secure, and compliant cloud operations.
Josh has been all-in with cloud since its inception, previously serving as a Principal Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services and as CTO for a prior startup, with other technical and leadership roles along the way. With the Fugue team, Josh authored Scalable Cloud Ops with Fugue published by The Pragmatic Bookshelf and the O’Reilly guide Immutable Infrastructure: Considerations for the Cloud and Distributed Systems, as well as numerous articles.
NAME: Alex Terry, CEO
WHY: Since joining Conversica in 2015, Terry has helped it become the leading AI-powered business conversation platform. Conversica’s AI assistant is used by more than 1,000 customers across the fields of automotive, finance, hospitality, real estate and technology, including Fortune 500 companies like IBM and Epson.
Terry is an accomplished general manager and leader with over 20 years of management experience in high-growth SaaS companies. His past gigs include a stint as CEO at Become, Inc., an award-winning shopping analytics platform using artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide marketing services to thousands of merchants in North America, Europe and Asia.
Terry was previously EVP and General Manager of the online survey business Zoomerang.com and President and CEO of NeoEdge Networks. He holds multiple patents for his work in Internet services, integrated communications, and interactive billing systems.
NAME: Sandy Steier, CEO and Co-founder
WHY: For starters, Steier’s company 1010data was acquired for $500 million to make Advance an analytical power house. Not only that, Steier is recognized as an innovator behind the adoption of advanced analytic technologies for Big Data. He pioneered the research and development of many complex financial instruments, plus he hand designed and implemented the software required to analyze them.
NAME: Al Babbington, CEO
WHY: At the age of 50, Al Babbington left a lucrative career as an automotive CEO because he wanted to make a difference. So, he parked his Ferrari and put himself to the task of improving health in America—and around the world.
He now achieves the former as CEO of PrescribeWellness, the pharmacy patient communication tool that is changing the role of the community pharmacy from a just a dispensary to a center for preventive healthcare and wellness and as a board member of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).
He achieves the latter as a board member and director of New Leaf Africa, an organization dedicated to applying carbon credits to sustainable projects that improve health and education.
NAME: Susan Lewis, COO
WHY: Susan Lewis spent the first half of her career in international banking, broadcasting and the nonprofit sector. But 12 years ago, an incident in her personal life changed everything: her father suffered a debilitating stroke after forgetting to refill his hypertension medication for just three days. This prompted her to pursue a career in a field that could actively improve preventive care for Americans like her father.
In her role as COO of PrescribeWellness, Lewis is able to “put a face to the community pharmacist,” raising awareness of this valuable resource and actively addressing issues like medication adherence. She is also involved in the aero-medical industry, transporting patients worldwide to the U.S. for treatment and facilitating disaster recovery efforts.
NAME: Peter Strong, Chief Architect
COMPANY: Cambium Networks
WHY: Worried about WiFi not being able to accommodate the demand? Peter Strong developed technology to multiply the capacity of a wireless connection without requiring more spectrum. This technology, known as MU-MIMO (Multiple-input multiple-output), aids modern technologies, from WiFi to LTE.
Strong has a background as a design engineer who helped to develop GPS modems and ultrasonics. He was also part of the technical staff for Motorola Solutions.
NAME: Jerome Ternynck, Founder, CEO & Board Member
WHY: Jerome Ternynck is an entrepreneur with his heart in recruiting and soul in technology. The founder and CEO of SmartRecruiters, he envisions a world where recruitment is transparent and hiring is so easy that his grandma can do it. Ternynck’s goal is to bring the economy to its full potential by removing friction in the labor market and actually eradicating unemployment.
X40 SmartRecruiters operates on a non-profit basis, with any profits donated to charities that help solve unemployment.In his spare time, Ternyck sails “X40 SmartRecruiters,” an Extreme 40 sailboat, one of the fastest on the San Francisco Bay.
NAME: Kasey Byrne, Vice President of Marketing
WHY: Kasey Byrne has spent most of her career in startups and early-stage technology companies, which is unusual for a number of reasons: she’s a marketer with a software engineering degree; a woman; and, these days, she says, almost always the oldest person in the room. She prefers a hoodie, standing desk and big open office space to the corner office she could have at this stage of her career and says that at a small company, her contributions carry more weight–it matters if she shows up, and she loves that every day presents her with fresh surprises.
Byrne enjoys both contributing and the continuing opportunity to learn and grow. Lately, she’s been brushing up on her coding skills and wonders if that means she’ll no longer be a “software-engineer-turned-marketer” but a “software-engineer-turned-marketer-turned-software-engineer-again.”
NAME: Daniel Farrar, CEO
WHY: Daniel Farrar has been committed to health all his life. As a child, he was a wrestler and Eagle Scout. As an adult, he successfully climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and continues to push his body every day.
As CEO of Switchfly, he has made his love of health a central part of the company culture. He brought in a trainer and nutritionist to consult employees and has an open door policy for his employees to seek advice from him on training or nursing injuries.
Farrar believes in a direct correlation between health and productivity and has seen the proof of this at Switchfly, where employees have rejected the traditionally sedentary lifestyle of tech workers and instead set personal health goals and exercise every day in the company fitness room.
NAME: Tricia Heinrich
COMPANY: Bospar PR
WHY: What does the first apprentice winner Bill Rancic have in common with MC Hammer? Bospar PR’s Chief Content Officer Tricia Heinrich! She’s part of the management team at Bospar, a leading-edge virtual public relations agency that is enjoying explosive growth while redefining the customary PR agency workplace.
Heinrich recruited both Rancic and MC Hammer while securing thought leadership content in outlets like Fortune, Forbes, the Huffington Post and The Economist. Her work has also resulted in significant coverage in top-tier media, including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, the BBC, Fast Company, Wired and USA Today.
NAME: Peter McGuinness, Chief Marketing and Brand Officer
WHY: After putting in 22 years with ad agencies, Peter McGuinness knows how to sell. Now he’s using that experience to convince buyers of Greek yogurt that it’s not just for breakfast anymore. Some of his innovations since joining Chobani have been testing out new recipes at the Chobani SoHo Cafe, showing yogurt recipes at the Chobani Kitchen online and offering a Chobani cookbook.
McGuinness is a popular speaker at marketing events and is credited for Chobani’s partnership with the Olympics and the use of social media to boost the visibility of the Greek yogurt.
NAME: Nuno Teles, CMO
WHY: When Nuno Teles assumed his new position at Heineken in 2016 after a spectacularly successful run as CMO of the beer’s Brazilian operations in the U.S., he faced some pretty daunting challenges. After achieving a growth rate of 500 percent in Brazil, Nunes has spent the last couple of years dealing with the rise of digital media, maintaining innovation and the fact that many millennials have switched from beer to wine.
Nunes has risen to the challenge with bold new ideas like the #TecateBeerWall commercial which ran during the 2016 presidential debates. Rather than the type of wall proposed by a certain presidential candidate which would shut others out, the ad showed a three-foot high “beer wall” located on the border of the U.S. and Mexico, a friendly kind of structure where beer-drinking bros from both countries can hang out and get to know each other.
“We built a wall not to divide, but to unite,” Teles said of the ad.”Our brewery is next to the border of the US and Mexico, so we built this huge wall to unite two countries, because that’s basically the role of beer.”
NAME: Jimmie Stone, CCO
WHY: Jimmie Stone is one of the most acclaimed figures in the PR business, known for his innovative approach to campaigns for clients like eBay, GE, Pfizer, Samsung and Unilever. One of his most impressive accomplishments since joining Edelman has been building a real-time response social media newsroom.
Among Stone’s especially memorable commercials was the “Get Old” series for Pfizer, a social awareness campaign designed to cast a positive light on aging by showing unconventional seniors like a 94-year-old artist.
NAME: Laura Callanan, Founder
COMPANY: Upstart Co-Lab
Laura started her career in fundraising for theater arts at Lincoln Center and realized there was a communication gap among theaters and hedge fund pros. So she took a job on Wall Street and later was appointed by former President Obama as Senior Deputy Chairman of the NEA. She recently founded Upstart Co-Lab to support artistic entrepreneurs.
Upstart connects artists with investors, entrepreneurs, social enterprises and sustainable companies. Callanan told an interviewer that Upstart is focused on “the artists who take their skill, aptitude, vision and ability and choose to apply it to the same priority issues—criminal justice system reform, combatting type 2 diabetes in communities of color, climate change, immigration—as other social entrepreneurs.”
NAME: Susan Peters, CHRO
WHY: Susan Peters has seen major changes since joining General Electric back in 1979. She’s been transferred all over the world while climbing the corporate ladder and now oversees GE’s global workforce of 300,000.
While other companies have foundered in the information age, GE has managed to stay in the game by changing with the times and Peters has always been at the forefront of evolution in the industry.
Today Peters holds leadership summits for the leaders at GE so they can learn from other leaders and create new avenues for innovation. She told an interviewer, “Leaders are the people who want to grow themselves by growing others. They inspire others to be their best.”
NAME: Jon Fisher, CEO & Co-founder
Why: Is there a path of least resistance to impacting the world? Fisher raised less than $30m to invent and found three companies that all went on to be owned by S&P500 acquirers including Bharosa, which produced the Oracle Adaptive Access Manager and sold to Oracle Corporation for a reported $50 million in 2007; NetClerk, now part of Roper Technologies; and AutoReach, now part of AutoNation. His current venture is augmented reality company, CrowdOptic.
Fisher is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, the author of Strategic Entrepreneurism: Shattering the Startup Entrepreneurial Myths, which is required reading in a number of top business school programs. A philanthropist and sought after speaker, Fisher’s CrowdOptic partnered with HPE recently to deploy augmented reality and usher in a new wave of IoT server technology.
NAME: Pete Jacobs, Vice President of Integrated Marketing
COMPANY: Digital Trends
Why: Pete Jacobs is a 20 year pioneer in media and content strategy. Through iconic work on such brands as EA Sports, Brut, Ubisoft and Spike TV, Jacobs has seen many of his efforts become ingrained in the fabric of popular culture.
At Digital Trends, Jacobs founded DT Design, the in-house content studio that has played a key role in the publisher’s incredible growth . Overseeing a team of designers, producers, writers and developers, Jacobs’s group puts out some of the most innovative native content for DT’s stable of top tier advertisers.
NAME: Adryenn Ashley, Founder & CEO
WHY: Dating apps have gotten a rather sleazy reputation due to certain well-known mobile meeting places that are basically just places to find a one-night stand. Single-and-tired-of-it Adryenn Ashley hopes to change that with the launch of Loly, a geo-location mating app for “good girls.”
Ashley is an old hand at startups, having already founded Wow! Is Me, Inc., after formulating a proprietary social media business system working with both service-based and retail businesses. She is also the brains behind CrowdTV, a crowdfunding platform for broadcast TV shows.
Will Adryenn Ashley find true love? If not, she’s sure to find an idea for a new startup.
NAME: Shaji Mathew, CEO
COMPANY: Terra Vigna
WHY: Shaji Mathew is not your typical wine connoisseur and entrepreneur. He travels the world to hand-select unique, limited-production wines to add to his roster of exclusive imports, a majority of which are only available in the U.S. through his portfolio. As part of his latest venture, Shaji and his wife, Vijna, launched international wine club Terra Vigna to bring these wines to the masses. Mathew holds a certificate in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California, Davis, and continues his involvement in his regional community through educational seminars and tastings of rare, international wines. And he’s much more than just an oenophile -Shaji earned a Ph.D in biochemistry from the University of Nevada and daylights full-time as a pediatrician for his own practice, Summit Pediatrics in Reno, Nev.
NAME: Dan Biederman, President
COMPANY: Biederman Redevelopment Ventures Corporation
WHY: For more than 20 years, Dan Biederman has been making America more beautiful, one park at a time. He’s most famous for remaking New York City’s Bryant Park from an urban eyesore into the elegant site of Fashion Week, but Biederman has worked wonders on public spaces all over the country.
As President of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures Corporation, he’s known for his ability to plan, manage and revitalize parks that are badly in need of a facelift. Since 1989, his is 34th Street Partnership has been sprucing up a major chunk of the Big Apple that includes Pennsylvania Station, Madison Square Garden, Herald Square and the Empire State Building.
New York City is looking better than ever these days and Biederman has a lot to do with it.
NAME: Dr. Lucas Lu, Founder and CEO
WHY: A bad experience buying a printer through an online ad led Dr. Lucas Lu to build a better mobile marketplace. Since founding the Craigslist-meets-Instagram startup 5miles, Lu has seen his app attract more than 10-million buyers. 5miles currently facilitates more than $250-million in peer-to-peer transactions each month.
A serial entrepreneur and commerce veteran formerly with Alibaba, Lucas has become a resource for seasonal, topical and thought leadership opportunities. In just two years, 5miles has been featured in a number of top-tier media outlets and has become the top-rated buy-and-sell app on both Apple and Android.
NAME: Jay Edelson, Founder and CEO
COMPANY: Edelson PC
WHY: Edelson PC is not your father’s law firm. This Chicago-based startup specializes in consumer class action cases based on tech privacy issues, and it’s changing the way privacy laws are being implemented and interpreted. Over the last several years, Edelson has taken on a list of tech behemoths that includes Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Facebook and Google. Along the way, the firm has recovered more than $1 billion for its clientele of consumers.
Edelson does all this out of an office in a Chicago high-rise where his staff of 20 lawyers come to work in hoodies emblazoned with the company logo rather than business suits and relax by playing pool. There’s nothing traditional about Edelson PC but who needs tradition in the fast-growing world of tech privacy?
What would Edelson be doing if he hadn’t become a lawyer? He said, “Running a startup that some firm like mine would probably sue.”
NAME: Asif Khan, Founder and CEO
WHY: Before founding Caremerge, Asif Khan spent 20 years in the tech field, including eight in marketing for GE Healthcare IT, so he was the ideal candidate to found a company designed to revolutionize coordination and communication in care for seniors. Last year, Caremerge secured $14 million in funding to educate post-acute care providers for the changing healthcare industry.
Caremerge has 50 employees, most of work out if its Chicago office, and serves hundreds of customers with its software that simplifies tracking the care of Medicare patients. With 250,000 Baby Boomers being added to the Medicare rolls every month, business is booming with the company’s main clients being assisted living facilities, physicians’ offices and pharmacies.
NAME: Richard Martin, Founder
COMPANY: ATK All Terrain Kart
WHY: Every successful entrepreneur has an inspiration and for Richard Martin, it was losing his job at 63 with having little hope of finding another one. In order to create another source of income, Martin and his brother pooled their funds to start ATK. The purpose of the company was to reinvent the kids’ go karts of the 1950s and market them online.
The company has been featured in numerous media outlets and has given Martin the comfortable “retirement” he had hoped for. “The beauty of the business is that it’s fun to run but, with no staff or manufacturing to oversee, it can be run from an iPhone on a beach so it doesn’t impact on the freedom that we can enjoy as retirees.”
NAME: Gary Heavin, Founder and CEO
COMPANY: Curves International
WHY: Gary Heavin is a perfect example of that old motto, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” After dropping out of college at 20 to start a gym business, he became a millionaire at 25 – but went bankrupt at 30. That’s when Heavin and his wife Diane hatched the idea of starting a chain of gyms for women only.
That was 1992 and now there are more than 10,000 Curves gyms in 85 countries. Obviously Heavin learned from his early mistakes. “One big thing I’ve learned is that when you’re wealthy at a young age like I was, it has a lot to do with luck,” he said. “When you’re older, it has a lot to do with experience.”
NAME: Jay Lichty, Founder
COMPANY: Lichty Guitars
WHY: North Carolina native Jay Lichty is living proof that it’s never too late to start your own business. A dream about a small guitar inspired him to craft his own custom ukulele. In 2009, he launched Lichty Guitars and now makes guitars and ukuleles for customers all over the world.
This success is especially sweet since Lichty saw his homebuilding business take a nosedive during the recession. Now he’s working from his home and seeing sales in six figures. Lichty is loving his new career, saying “I’ve always been the type that worked better for myself.”
NAME: Carol Doyel, Founder
WHY: Carol Doyel had a successful real estate business until the recession hit in 2008. Rather than sitting around feeling sorry for herself, Doyel started her website LivingBetter50.com, which serves an audience of women over 50. Doyel gives her huge audience advice on everything from cooking to weathering a divorce.
Doyel knows her readers and what they’re thinking about. “It’s a very desirable demographic,” she stated. “Women aged 50-plus control a lot of wealth – they may not own it, but they mostly make the decisions and manage that wealth. And as consumers they represent major buying decisions in almost every category from toilet paper to cars.”
NAME: Ali Brown, Founder
COMPANY: Glambition Radio
WHY: Brown found herself broke and in debt after launching her first startup but with perseverance achieved the goal of making her first million by age 35. Now she helms an empire that includes Glambition Radio, a podcast that focuses on entrepreneurial advice for women. With 250,000 followers on social media, Brown qualifies as a world class influencer.
Her coaching has helped many budding entrepreneurs start their own successful businesses, something that gives her great joy. “Nothing makes me more proud or excited, sometimes to the point of tears, as when I see a client have a big breakthrough, share a success story that changed her life, or multiplied her income in ways she could only have imagined.”
NAME: David Ossip, CEO
WHY: Toronto-based David Ossip qualifies as a serial entrepreneur, having founded Workbrain in 2003, sold it for $227-million in 2007 and gone on to found Dayforce in 2009. This real-time workforce management company caught the attention of Minneapolis human resources provider Ceridian Inc., which acquired a 20-percent stake in Workbrain in 2011. The merger proved to be so successful that the Ceridian board appointed Ossip as CEO in 2013.
Ossip accomplished all this after the age of 40 and thinks that it’s easier to launch a successful startup when you’re older and more experienced. “Over time you develop a team and a reputation, especially if you have a history of making money for investors.”
NAME: Mukul Agarwal, Founder and CEO
COMPANY: BootUP Ventures
WHY: Before launching BootUP Ventures, Mukul Agarwal had already gotten the reputation of being a genius at problem solving. Whether it’s coming up with customized IT solutions for healthcare professionals or providing foreign companies with an ecosystem that will help them get through to global markets, Agarwal has been giving clients just what they need.
His passion for using technology to make people’s lives better led him to found BootUP Ventures, an investment ecosystem that aids startup ventures by connecting companies to investors, mentors and talent. If you have a struggling startup that needs help to get off the ground, Agarwal is the guy to call.
NAME: Michael Cartwright, Founder and Chairman
COMPANY: American Addiction Centers
WHY: Michael Cartwright has a long history of working with addictions, having founded a not-for-profit drug and alcohol addiction center in Nashville in 1995 and Foundations Recovery Network LLC, a national treatment company in 1999. Cartwright is currently using his experience and expertise in his role as founder and chairman of American Addiction Centers, a network of facilities serving people suffering from a variety of addictions.
For the last 20 years, Cartwright has been one of the most respected authorities on addictions and has helped to change the recovery industry with his work as an author, speaker and strategist.
NAME: Howard Dvorkin, Chairman
WHY: In these credit-crazed times, Howard Dvorkin is an advocate of the cash-only lifestyle. As the founder of Consolidated Credit in 1993, Dvorkin saw the company grow to be the nation’s fourth-largest specialist in credit counseling.
Dvorkin is currently the chairman of Debt.com, a one-stop website for those dealing with debt – or trying to avoid it. He’s also active in drafting legislation to hold the credit industry to high standards and help consumers deal with their credit problems.
NAME: George Salah, Chairman and CEO
WHY: George Salah brought a lifetime of experience to his current position as chairman and CEO of Apparent, a firm that calls itself “The Intelligent Grid.” Prior to joining Apparent in 2013, Salah put in 14 years as Director of Real Estate and Workplace Services at Google, helping it grow into the tech giant it is today. He also has vast experience in corporate real estate and construction management.
So what is Apparent? According to its website, it’s “a technology energy company, providing products and services to maximize the performance of renewable energy assets and the creation of the smart grid.” Sounds revolutionary – and ready for the future.
NAME: Nancy Peterson, Founder and CEO
WHY: At 36, Nancy Peterson was happy living the corporate life as a marketing and brands director for Kraft Foods Inc. in Canada but then she had her first child and began to yearn for a more flexible schedule. Then in 2006 she joined the ranks of entrepreneurs with the launch of HomeStars.com, a website that gives homeowners the ability to compare building contractors.
By early 2017, HomeStars had become Canada’s leading platform for connecting homeowners with service providers, which is one reason that the site was acquired by HomeAdvisor, the world’s largest home services marketplace. For now, Peterson plans to remain with the company she founded. “I’ll be staying on for the foreseeable future,” she stated. “I’m still young, I’ve got lots of energy, and I really want to see our team learn and grow from HomeAdvisor.”
NAME: Marcus Angell, Founder
WHY: Frequent business travelers often prefer the space, convenience and amenities of a serviced, or extended stay, apartment to the coldly impersonal ambiance of a hotel, which is why they’re growing in popularity. Londoner Marcus Angell saw the potential in serviced apartments back in 2000 when he founded SilverDoor. 17 years later, SilverDoor is the world’s largest provider of serviced apartments with accommodations in 79 cities.
Last year SilverDoor solidified its position in the market by acquiring its top competitor, CityBase apartments. Angell explained why SilverDoor has been so successful: “I think the biggest is that that we have, over the course of 15 years, changed the company from one which was effectively me, a one-man band in my bedroom, into the largest independent serviced apartment agent in the world.
“And that’s what we are measured by in terms of overall turnover and in overall numbers of staff in this company. We only do one thing and that means we can focus all of our time and effort into being the best serviced apartment agent.”
NAME: Bobbi Brown, Founder
COMPANY: Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
WHY: Bobbi Brown moved to New York City at 23 to seek a career as a makeup artist and won over clients with her eye for natural tones that offered a stark contrast to the bright colors in style at the time. Soon she was applying her skills for making clients look naturally beautiful to high fashion magazine shoots with supermodels.
In 1991, Brown enlisted a chemist to help her create ten lipstick colors which sold out immediately when they hit the shelves at Bergdorf Goodman. The resulting line called Bobbi Brown cosmetics was purchased by Estée Lauder Companies Inc. in 1995.
While Brown retained creative control of the line, she also turned her attention to causes like the Pretty Powerful Campaign for Women & Girls which offers support to organizations that help with education and learning job skills. Every time Brown appears on QVC to promote her products, a $25,000 donation is made to Dress for Success, one of the causes sponsored by Pretty Powerful.
Who could have guessed an empire could be launched by a lipstick called simply “Brown” made from a taupe pencil and a blush? It’s highly likely that Brown’s story has inspired some of today’s younger makeup mavens like Kylie Jenner.
NAME: Sam Pierce, Financial CEO
COMPANY: IW Financial
WHY: Sam Pierce founded IW Financial back in 2001 and has seen it grow into a one-stop source for investors who want to know exactly where their money is going. IW offers clients solutions based on their patented technology that allows them to comparatively rank companies based on investment principles and user-defined criteria.
Earlier this year, IW was acquired by Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. According to a press release from ISS, “IW Financial CEO Sam Pierce will continue with the combined group and will lead development of an environmental and social ratings methodology, slated for release later this year as part of the ISS QualityScore screening and scoring solution.”
It sounds like Pierce is going to be very busy in the future.
NAME: Sandra Carter, Co-founder
WHY: Back in 2010, Sandra Carter launched her startups Mushroom Matrix and M2 ingredients for the purpose of selling organic powdered mushroom products for humans and pets. By 2016, the two companies were doing almost $15 million in sales and were rebranded as Om – Organic Mushroom Nutrition.
The company’s amazing growth can be credited to external factors like the growing demand for mushroom-based products, which have been lauded for their health and medicinal value, but also to Carter’s experience and vision. In an interview she said, “One of the wonderful things of aging is that as you go through life, you learn a lot from others and from your own mistakes, as well.”
Along with the new name, Carter’s company has made more changes like moving from a 7,000-square-foot-facility to a new 21,000-square foot space in Carlsbad, Calif. Om also opened a 65,000-square-foot facility in late 2016. It looks like Carter’s little startup has “mushroomed.”
NAME: William Tatham, CEO
COMPANY: NexJ Systems Inc.
WHY: William Tatham is an old hand at starting businesses since he founded Janna Systems back in the late eighties after a decade in the custom information systems industry. After selling Janna Systems to Siebel Systems in 2000 for $1.75-billion, a record sum for a Canadian software company, Tatham took his $240 million profit, bought a Ferrari and retired – but not for long. He soon grew restless and after forming a venture capital firm with five former Janna execs. he launched NexJ in 2003.
By that time there were growing concerns in the tech industry over the security of information stored in the too-public “clouds” becoming available. Tatham took advantage of this opportunity by offering a “private cloud” where confidential information could be stored behind the client’s own firewall.
What is Tatham’s next goal? Revolutionizing the Canadian health industry by creating a platform that would share patients’ records with their healthcare providers. That and a $100-million revenue target for NexJ.
NAME: Leila Boujnane, CEO
COMPANY: Idée, Inc
WHY: Canadian Leila Boujnane spent a decade in software development at the financial risk software firm Algorithmics before striking out on her own to start Idée, Inc., where she developed the program TinEye, the world’s first reverse image search engine. Boujnane explained her inspiration thusly: “Everyone is familiar with text search, but images and videos also contain a lot of information. We thought, what if you had an image and you were able to start your search using an image?” TinEye has numerous real-world uses, such as allowing professional photographers to find out who’s been using their images – especially without their consent.
What advice does Bourjane have for other women in technology? “Get involved fully in your community and excel at what you do. Period.”
NAME: Duncan Cheatle, CEO
COMPANY: The Prelude Group
WHY: Enterprising Brit Duncan Cheatle is an enthusiastic proponent of starting new businesses after 40, stating that “you have typically made plenty of mistakes to learn from, built great networks but still have passion.” Cheatle’s passion has led him to found The Prelude Group which includes several successful startups. Prelude was founded in 2000 for the purpose of providing support, networking and training for UK entrepreneurs.
Other startups followed including The Supper Club, members-only group for fast-tracked London entrepreneurs and Startup Britain, a privately funded campaign to encourage enterprise in the UK. Cheatle’s latest effort is Rise To, which is devoted to matching young Brits to entrepreneurial jobs.
“Our bigger goal, he says. “something we hope to achieve in the next few years, is to create one million work-related opportunities for young people, whether that’s full time jobs, internships, work experience or open days.”
NAME: Linda Avey, Co-founder
COMPANY: Curious, Inc.
WHY: Avey is already on her second start-up, having launched genetic data company 23andMe at 46. 23andMe gives consumers an easy way to access their genetic data. For $199, users can unlock the secrets of their DNA including genetic health risks and ancestry. At 53, Avey branched out with her next start-up, Curious, a health and fitness app that helps people track and integrate their personal data.
In her previous life, Avey spent 20 years in the biopharmaceuticals industry where she helped develop programs for firms including Affymetrix and Perlegen Sciences.
NAME: Jacki Zehner, CEO
COMPANY: Women Moving Millions
WHY: At the ripe old age of 32, Zehner became the youngest woman to achieve partnership at Goldman Sachs, where she specialized in mortgage-backed trading. After exiting the firm, she has devoted her life to philanthropy, starting with serving as CEO of Women Moving Millions since 2009. WMM is a non-profit dedicated to mobilizing resources for the advancement of women and girls around the world.
Zehner also works with a long list of philanthropic organizations and in 2009 took part in the compilation of a groundbreaking report by the National Council for Research on Women entitled “Women in Fund Management: A Roadmap for Achieving Critical Mass – and Why it Matters.”
NAME: Carol Gardner, Founder
COMPANY: Zelda Wisdom
WHY: At the age of 52, Carol Gardner was facing a divorce and crippling debt, so it would have been easy to just crawl into bed and have a pity party. Instead, she took her attorney’s advice to “get a therapist or get a dog” and adopted Zelda, a sad-faced bulldog that became the inspiration for Zelda Wisdom, Gardner’s greeting card and gift company. She drew upon her 20 years of experience in the ad industry to recruit a photographer and a PR person as her partners. The team has remained together for 18 years and after deals with Hallmark and American Greetings, Zelda Wisdom brings in about $50 million a year.
This savvy entrepreneur is bringing her experience in launching a successful start-up to the organization OWL, which is devoted to helping women over 40.