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13 trailblazing Austinites make the cut for Forbes' '30 under 30' this year


At the cutting edge of tech, music and business are many successful leaders who not too long ago weren't old enough to drive or vote.

These wunderkinds were honored in Forbes' prestigious "30 under 30" lists, which highlights hundreds of top young entrepreneurs in categories from social media to science, in the 2022 rendition of the list on Wednesday. Some of the Class of '22 were as young as 14, while the average honoree was around 28 years old. Thirteen of these burgeoning business moguls were from Austin, which has seen such distinguished 30 under 30 alumni as former UT basketball player Kevin Durant get top spots on the 10-year-old list.

Here's a look at the 13 Austinites who made the cut:

Science—Celine Halioua, Loyal founder, 27

Earning the top spot in the science category was Celine Halioua, a former University of Texas student and founder of biotech company Cellular Longevity. The company, normally called Loyal, was founded by Halioua in 2019 and aims at finding compounds that can prevent undue aging and cancer in dogs, something that Halioua hopes will one day translate into human benefits.

As the frontrunner for the Science category's Class of '22, Halioua earned a photoshoot and video interview. Like many others on the list, Halioua's youth may give her an edge up in creating new ideas and technologies.

"It's been very fun learning how to modernize an old industry," Halioua said in the interview.

Halioua, who grew up in Austin around 15 cats, rescue dogs and even pet squirrels, said her company looks to extend the lifespan of dogs, but more broadly she hopes to combat the issue of "not having free will," an opinion she formed when talking to brain cancer patients at a neuro-oncology clinic at 18.

She also said creating anti-aging medicines for dogs can be a "proving ground" for creating the first explicit anti-aging drug cleared for humans because veterinary medicines are much more likely to be approved.

There's never been a drug approved for aging for any species, dog or human," Halioua said. "My core goal in life is to get the first drug approved."

The Bay Area-based company is pre-revenue, but it's already generated over $38 million in venture capital and has its first anti-aging drug poised to reach clinical trials next year.

Science—William Gilpin, UT Austin professor, 29

University of Texas' incoming physics professor William Gilpin knows how to find beauty—and practicality—in chaos.

Using "chaos theory to understand biological complexity," Gilpin, who was inspired by ocean waves and fluids, has revolutionized a machine learning technique for neuroscience recordings.

"Is chaos really hard to predict?" Gilpin asks in a recent viral Tweet, as he showcases his methods that have helped analyze fitness trackers and predict prices of stocks and ponds.

Sports—Megan Lindon, Austin FC marketer, 29

Ever seen Austin FC's signature Verde Van rolling around town? The mobile one-stop shop for Austin FC merchandise is the brainchild of Lindon, the senior manager of marketing who helped make the team the top-selling hub for merch across the MLS in its first year.

Lindon oversaw brand campaigns and retail partnerships, such as its jersey sponsor YETI, for the new team. Although she might not be responsible for all the hype, it's tough to tell whether Austin FC would be as recognizable nationwide without Lindon's efforts.

Games—Jacob Wolf

Move over, sports commentators—esports reporting is entering its golden era, and the self-proclaimed "world leader" in esports coverage is based in Austin with Jacob Wolf at the helm.

At 24, Wolf, the company's chief reporter, has already been compared to "ESPN's NBA news king Adrian Wojnarowski," according to the Forbes report. He's also won the Esports Awards Journalist of the Year title in 2018 and has been nominated five times, leads the company's news team with hard-hitting investigative pieces and has founded a production company that will co-produce a podcast set to release in 2022.

Wolf sits on the list now, but he was criticized by a Forbes reporter in the past for having "zero corner" in the esports market—a notion that was quickly shut down by Wolf and longtime esports fans alike.

Manufacturing & Industry—Topher Haddad and Winston Tri, Albedo co-founders

"The next generation of Earth observation is coming soon," satellite imagery company Albedo's website boldly reads over a crystal-clear aerial view of an alpine forest.

Two under-30 entrepreneurs—Topher Haddad and Winston Tri—set out to create commercially-available satellite imagery that has nine times better resolution than what's out now. From that, Austin-based Albedo was born.

After raising $10 million in a seed round by Initialized Capital, the company is gearing up to launch its first satellites in 2023.

Venture Capital—Brandon Allen and Marcus Stroud, TXV Partners co-founders

Austin can't have its startup-savvy culture without its venture capitalists, something Princeton graduates Brandon Allen and Marcus Stroud know all too well.

Now 27 and 28, the former Princeton roommates formed TXV Partners in 2019 and haven't looked back since, investing over $20 million into businesses including fitness app Future Fit and the similarly-named fitness startup Future as well as Data.World, Oura, Kambr and Trax. The duo, which has since tacked on another partner, has been focused on local businesses for years and will continue to do so as they boost Texas' best exercise startups.

Retail and eCommerce—Benjamin Smith, Disco founder, 28

Men need skincare, too—even if they sometimes aren't comfortable enough to address it.

That's the issue that Austinite Benjamin Smith hopes to tackle with his skincare line Disco, which provides sets and products from anti-aging cream to cleansers to help men feel their most "dapper."

Smith, who struggled with acne throughout early adulthood, strayed from the overly-masculine packaging of many men's beauty products and instead opted for a sleek, simple look that can be seen online and at Nordstrom. The company has been featured in GQ and the Wall Street Journal and is expected to see $10 million in revenue at the end of 2021 after an original $5 million in funding.

Finance—Jeron Davis, RLJ Equity Partners, 28

Although he's based in Maryland, Jeron Davis has found success as a senior associate at RLJ Equity Partners, a firm founded by Austin billionaire Robert L. Johnson.

Davis is a former investment banker at Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., where he made a$4.6 billion leveraged buyout of Petco and a $2.2 billion sale with CenturyLink. With RLJ, Davis made a $60 million LBO of Pro-Vac and $31 million TechMedia buyout.

Education—Chandler Bolt, Self Publishing School founder, 28

Investor and Self Publishing School founder Chandler Bolt holds a five-year company and has helped 6,000+ writers publish their own books—and he's just 28.

His company, which helps writers work—from creating a writing timeline to arranging speaking engagements after publishing—charges $6,000 to bring writer's works into fruition.

The Austin-based Self Publishing School has been an INC 5000 company for three years in a row among the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. But Bolt's not stopping there, he's also published six books of his own, hosts two podcasts, and has a YouTube channel about the self-publishing process.

Energy—Thomas Sherman and Daniel Vassallo, CRCL Solutions co-founders

Texas' renewable energies are growing fast—but when the wind turbines aren't turning, it can hard to predict how much the state will be able to use.

Using artificial intelligence, CRCL Solutions founders Thomas Sherman and Daniel Vassallo are helping power traders reduce risk and increase profitability by forecasting usage of ERCOT's solar and wind energies. Eventually, the duo hopes to help create carbon neutrality by erasing some risks from the fluctuating renewable energy market.

And their efforts are gaining national attention: so far, they've received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Austin Energy Incubator.


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