Photo: Daniel Goodman via Business Insider
New York City is full of startups. But the real winners have amazing leadership teams driving them to succeed.We polled tech industry executives and investors to find CEOs who are rising stars; they told us who their favourite early-stage startup CEOs are.
Fab has quickly become one of the most exciting companies in New York tech. CEO Jason Goldberg helped it pivot from a failed concept called Fabulis into a flash sale design site with more than 225 employees. It generates $300,000 per day.
Goldberg has always been a product guy. Before Fab, he was CEO of a startup that sold to XING AG, which he became Chief Product Officer of. He also founded Jobster.
Before he founded companies, he worked in the White House under Bill Clinton.
Jake Schwartz is founding an impressive startup school in Manhattan and London, General Assembly, that houses hundreds of entrepreneurs.
The company received initial funding from the likes of Skype and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and most recently, it raised $4.25 million in September of 2011 from Maveron (Howard Schultz's firm).
Prior to General Assembly, Schwartz founded a few other companies and attended UPenn.
Liu has a lot of experience working with the public sector. She founded Public Stuff, an online platform that quickly connects people to the government so they can report problems and give opinions about their cities.
Before that, she was Acting Assistant Director for Michael Bloomberg's office and she was a senior analyst for the city of New York's Department of Education.
Cities spend a lot of time and resources developing helplines and community management systems. If you live in New York, you've undoubtedly seen its multi-million-dollar 311 system for connecting the public with government services. PublicStuff is a much cheaper solution that's easier to manage and use.
Vacanti is an ex-finance guy who taught himself to code so he could escape Wall Street. His startup, Yipit, aggregates 30,000 deals a month from more than 650 daily deals services and emails out a blast based on a user's preferences. It is currently available in more than 75 cities as well as a national version for deals available countrywide.
Vacanti has also become the go-to analyst/expert on the daily deal industry and a great resource for other entrepreneurs. His blog is a must read.
Kickstarter is the king of crowd-funding, and Chen is at the centre of the revolution.
His company facilitates the transfer of millions of dollars from supporters to inventors, artists, and anyone else with a good idea.
This year, Kickstarter is on track to help raise $300 million in funding for its users. The highest funded Kickstarter project, Pebble, raised $5.5 million in a handful of days.
Pettis is attempting to make the 3-D printer cost effective for the average person, and in turn, make every citizen a manufacturer.
Why should you go to Target for a night stand, when you can print one in your living room? Bre got a nice taste of national celebrity when he was a guest on Stephen Colbert's show in June.
Prior to Makerbot, Pettis worked as a video producer for Etsy.
Sixteen months after raising $1 million, Capel's smart email provider, SailThru, picked up another $8 million in a round led by RRE Ventures.
Sailthru focuses on helping 80 publishers and e-commerce sites use behaviorally-targeted tools to deliver effective emails and content. Under Capel, the company has grown from five to 60 employees and will staff 100 people by the end of the year. Capel has also brought on SailThru's COO, CFO and CRO; proof he can hire great people to surround him.
Prior to Sailthru, Capel was the CTO of numerous startups including Kevin Ryan and Dwight Merriman's MusicNation and Hyphen.
Jonah Peretti is the CEO of viral news and entertainment site, BuzzFeed. He's grown the company to 25 million monthly unique visitors in four years and it recently closed a $15.5 million round of financing.
Peretti is also the co-founder of Soho Tech Labs and co-founded The Huffington Post, which was acquired by AOL last year for $315 million.
Cerilli, the former EVP of Seamless, created a startup that distributes a merchant's storefront across tens of thousands of sites, including major publishers, IYPs, media companies, mobile applications, travel sites, and more.
It's also helping make itemized, local search possible. SinglePlatform makes local vendors' items and services available with accurate prices on the web. It has partnerships with Foursquare, Yellow Pages, and a major search engine.
Irving Fain was childhood friends with another entrepreneur on this list, Wiley Cerelli. The two hustled together at lemonade, T-shirt and flower stands.
Now Fain has led his startup through the TechStars NY program and to $6 million in a Series A funding with backing from Softbank Capital, Fairhaven Capital, and other investors.
CrowdTwist tracks information on a brand's social media offerings and helps reward the most loyal fans. CrowdTwist has partnerships with LiveNation and JCPenney and helped relaunch Kelly Clarkson's official fan site.
Waterbury is an entrepreneur who lives and breathes her product. She spent 15 years in the corporate jewelry industry working for major brands like Macy's and Kenneth Cole.
Now she designs jewelry for her startup, Chloe + Isabel, and helps users sell it to their friends for a portion of the profits.
'Chantel is a force of nature who knows the jewelry world inside and out,' says one of her investors in the $8.5 million funding round. 'Chloe + Isabel has a really innovative go-to-market strategy combining in-person sales with e-commerce. That's what got us to invest and it's why we're still excited to be investors now.'
'Chantel was a proven star in the jewelry world who had been plotting Chloe + Isabel for some time,' says another investor.
Baptiste has created a platform for publishers and advertisers to lay out their content on tablets in a visually appealing way without having to make mobile apps.
OnSwipe also took part in TechStars and raised a $5 million 'Series A-wesome' in June 2011. It will be rounding out a 'Series B-aller' soon.
'Something about Jason is very infectious, and I mean that in a very compelling way,' says one of his investors. 'He's a scattered, beautifully engaged kind of guy.'
Jacoby co-founded Solve Media in late 2010 and it had a great first year.
Although one source tells us its annual revenue goals were 'badly missed,' two others tell us the startup generated around $10 million last year. It raised another round of financing this year.
Solve Media turns CAPTCHAs into ads and it has type-in video placements too. Instead of watching a 30-second Mercedes ad, you can type in M-E-R-C-E-D-E-S instead. According to Solve Media, this technique increases brand recall by 111 per cent. The company was serving 625,000 CAPTCHA ads per day back in July.
Jacoby is a former Google consultant and he co-founded VoiceStar.
James is one of the most extreme people we've ever met. Literally, he climbed Mount Everest and had to help save a fellow climber. He's also wrestled a baby alligator and stepped on an anaconda. After putting his life in danger multiple times, running a startup is no sweat.
The former ad-tech executive and wine expert stumbled onto a brilliant business model -- pairing quality vino with cheap prices -- and raised $50 million last year for his flash sale wine site, Lot18.
Noah Brier was formerly Head of Strategic Planning for Barbarian Group and his co-founder, James Gross, was a senior VP at Federated Media; combined they have a lot of experience in the digital ad space.
Brier's company, Percolate, helps brands curate relevant content for social media outlets.
When it raised $1.5 million in December it was already profitable and working with major advertisers such as American Express and General Electric.
LocalResponse isn't Mehta's first rodeo. He's founded Ipsh!, a mobile marketing startup that sold to Omnicom in 2005; he is an angel investor in startups like Neverware, AdMob, Tapad and Hashable.
LocalResponse is nearly profitable, and it helps advertisers target relevant people via social media in real time. So if someone tweets about a Slurpee, 7-11 can immediately follow up with a DM or Facebook timeline message.
It poached the co-founder of Media6Degrees and the one-year-old startup is already securing 6-figure ad campaigns.
'The click-through rates we're seeing are 46 per cent, not .01 per cent like typical banner ads,' Mehta told us last year. In its first month (May 2011), LocalResponse's $1-5 CPC model generated $50,000 from Twitter ads alone.
A few years ago, Britta Riley read a New York Times article that said growing your own food is one of the best things you can do for the environment.
But she, liked 2 billion other people in the world, lived in a city apartment with no room for a traditional garden.
She and farmers around the world teamed up to create Windowfarms, which Riley describes as 'vertical platforms for food growing indoors.'
'There's a pump at the bottom that sends a nutrient liquid solution up to the top which trickles down through plants' roots systems suspended in clay pellets, so there's no dirt involved,' she describes in a TED talk. More than 2,000 Windowfarms have been purchased with the help of Kickstarter.
Birchbox is a subscription e-commerce and discovery site. Launched in 2010, it sends monthly boxes of makeup to more than 100,000 users, most of whom are paying subscribers.
Beauchamp and Barna, co-founders and co-CEOs, have made Birchbox the lead startup in the subscription e-commerce and beauty space, partnering with tons of major brands and fending off dozens of copycats.
It just launched Birchbox Man, which had thousands of subscribers pre-launch.
Colorado native Jordy Leiser is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet, and he's building a great business to boot.
StellaService is a mystery shopping and rating system for e-commerce sites. It pays people to test out the buying experiences on sites like Gilt and Zappos. The mystery shoppers write candid reviews and StellaService comes up with scores for each site.
If StellaService can prove that its badges improve checkout rates on e-commerce sites, it could be a big business. The data it's collecting is also valuable to companies, which would probably like to know where they stand in terms of social media response times and customer experience compared to their competitors.
Prior to founding StellaService, Leiser attended Bucknell University and was a JP Morgan analyst.
Joe Essenfeld's startup, Jibe, helps you attach mutual friends to your resume when you apply to a job online.
Five months in, Jibe was on track to generate $1 million in annual revenue, and 700,000 people were engaging with Jibe listings per month. One year later, we can assume those numbers have grown a lot.
The company also services employers, with clients such as Merck, Lockheed Martin, and Amazon. Jibe raised $6 million in May of 2011.
Prior to founding Jibe, Essenfeld was COO of Insomnia Cookies.
John Laramie's startup, AdStruc, is making it much easier for media buyers to purchase out-of-home placements such as billboards and taxi ads.
Before, if you wanted to purchase one of those placements, you had to hunt for billboards individually and dig up numbers to call. AdStruc brings it all online.
The Techstars company received $1.1 million of funding in September 2010.
Neverware makes old computers run like new by accessing the latest software via the cloud. It's a good solution for schools that can't afford to keep updating computer software.
Prior to founding Neverware, Hefter attended UPenn.
HowAboutWe is a dating site for couples who have been together for all lengths of time, whether they're embarking on a first date or celebrating a 25th anniversary. Unlike Match, HowAboutMe is more focused on what people do together rather than introducing two people.
Under Schechter and Schildkrout's leadership, the site has raised more than $18 million and its subscriber base is steadily growing by more than 1,600 new users per day.
Prior to its $15 million November fundraise, HowAboutWe grew tremendously with its team of 16 people and without much capital. In October 2010, users sent 24,138 messages on the dating site. Last November 302,047 messages were sent and more than 400,000 dates had been posted on the site since launch.