They’re going places

Forbes features 23 inspiring Austin leaders on list of ‘entrepreneurial heroes’

Forbes features 23 Austin leaders on list of ‘entrepreneurial heroes’

Downtown Austin skyline
Austin continues to be a hotbed for promising entrepreneurs. Photo by Gino Barasa, Visit Austin/Facebook

A spotlight is shining on nearly two dozen future Elon Musks from the Austin area.

Forbes magazine recently unveiled its final installment of 250 entrepreneurs on the Forbes Next 1000, a list of inspiring entrepreneurs and small-business leaders “who are redefining what it means to build and run a business amid the new normal.” Among the 250 are 23 entrepreneurs from the Austin area.

“As we enter another pandemic year, entrepreneurs and small-business owners are finding new ways to thrive amidst ever-uncertain circumstances,” Maneet Ahuja, senior editor of Forbes, says in a news release. “The fourth and final class of Next 1000 entrepreneurial heroes is writing the playbook for not only achieving financial recovery but speeding past it. These sole proprietors, self-funded shops, and pre-revenue startups are proving that — through resolve, hard work, and solid planning — anything is possible.”

Here are the 23 Austin-area entrepreneurs who made the final installment of the Next 1000 list for 2021:

  • Nitin Agrawal, co-founder and CEO of Austin-based Interstride, an education technology company that supplies international student-support services to colleges and universities.
  • Antoinette Alexander Adefela, founder of Exp.Design, a Round Rock-based consulting firm.
  • Tim Angelillo, founder of Austin-based Crafted Sourced Cocktails, which delivers craft cocktails to customers’ homes.
  • Ruben Arias, co-founder of Austin-based Beereaders, a digital platform that helps K-12 Spanish-speaking students improve reading and writing skills in their native language. 
  • Heather Emerson, founder of Austin-based Prep to Your Door, a delivery service for farm-to-table meals.
  • Mbiyimoh Ghogomu, co-founder of Austin-based Tradeblock, a social marketplace for “sneakerheads.”
  • Christopher Jane, co-founder of Proper Good, an Austin-based provider of healthy premade meals with “clean” ingredients.
  • Caren Kelleher, founder of Austin-based Gold Rush Vinyl, a producer of vinyl records.
  • Ariel Lee, co-founder of Remane, an Austin-based hair care company catering to Black consumers.
  • Charles Li, founder of Austin-based V2 Admissions, which helps students gain admission to top-ranking U.S. universities. 
  • Daniel Marcos, founder of Austin-based Growth Institute, an online provider of executive coaching.
  • Julia Niiro, founder of Austin-based MilkRun, a marketplace that sells produce, dairy products, and meat from small and midsize farms.
  • Victoria O’Connell, co-founder of Austin-based Golightly, a members-only vacation rental and home-sharing platform for women.
  • Janice Omadeke, founder of Austin-based The Mentor Method, whose software matches mentors with mentees.
  • Jen Pinkston, founder of La Paloma, an Austin-based seller of children’s and women’s sleepwear made from 100 percent cotton.
  • Alexandria Porter, founder of Austin-based Mod Tech Labs, which relies on machine learning to speed up the monotonous process of detailing digital content.
  • Scotty Reiss, founder of A Girls Guide to Cars, an Austin-based digital platform for female car buyers.
  • Yash Sabharwal, co-founder of Austin-based CherryCircle Software, which is revamping the management of drug manufacturing.
  • Krista Sampson, founder of Austin-based Argument-Driven Inquiry, which provides instructional materials and classroom resources for teachers of science, engineering, and math in the third through 12th grades.
  • Benjamin Smith, founder of Disco, an Austin-based retailer of facial cleansers, eye creams, and facial masks for men.
  • Mark Stern, founder of Austin-based The Custom Box Agency, which offers more than 100 types of packaging to help businesses onboard employees, and build relationships with prospective and current clients.
  • John Paul Udenenwu, founder of the JP’s Pancake Co., an Austin food truck that serves deluxe pancakes.
  • Lauren Washington, co-founder of Austin-based Fundr, an online marketplace that automates seed investing by creating portfolios of AI-vetted startups for angel investors and venture capital firms.