The coolest and most powerful people over 40 in Silicon Valley

Larry EllisonREUTERS/Robert GalbraithOracle’s Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison works behind a computer during his keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, California September 30, 2014.

Silicon Valley is known for its obsession with youth. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg once suggested that people over 30 shouldn’t really work in tech startups because “young people are just smarter.”

These folks are bucking the trend.

Pulled from our recently published Silicon Valley 100 list, meet the elder statesmen and stateswomen of Silicon Valley.

Nick Woodman, 40

Founder/CEO, GoPro

GoPro, the company that makes wearable sports cameras, priced its IPO at $US24 a share when it went public in June. Woodman became a billionaire when his company went public, and his whole family became millionaires too. GoPro went public at a $US2.6 billion valuation.

Marissa Mayer, 40

CEO, Yahoo

In September, Alibaba went public. Investors in Yahoo expected Alibaba's public value to send Yahoo's stock soaring. But after Alibaba's debut, Yahoo's stock crashed.

Months later, Yahoo unveiled a plan to spin off its remaining 15% stake in Alibaba, tax-free, into a public, independent investment company called SpinCo. Yahoo shareholders would receive shares 'distributed pro rata,' which means they'd own shares in two companies.

Josh James, 41

Founder, CEO, Domo

Earlier this year, data-management startup Domo announced a $US200 million Series D round of financing led by BlackRock that brought its total funding up to $US450 million. It's now valued at about $US2 billion.

Founder Josh James held Domo in stealth mode for nearly five years to keep the competition at bay while he built a platform for collecting and visualising business data, making it easy for executives to skim and understand. Though Domo has only 1,000 customers compared to competitor Tableau Software's 23,000, he said that Domo 'makes a higher average revenue per customer than Tableau does' during Re/code's Code/Enterprise: San Francisco event.

Adam Cahan, 42

Senior vice president of mobile, Yahoo

Adam Cahan formerly worked at Google on mobile initiatives and joined Yahoo a few months before Marissa Mayer, but he soon found himself in the CEO's office, tasked with heading up the expansion of mobile for Yahoo.

This became a massive growth opportunity for Cahan, who built up a team of over 600. His investment in mobile helped begin to put Yahoo on par with Facebook and Google, which already had thousands of people working on apps before Yahoo expanded into the territory.

Larry Page, 42

Cofounder, Google

When Page took over as Google's CEO, he wanted to reinvigorate the company's vision. Today the company continues to dominate search, makes a ton of money with ads, and is leading a number of other innovative projects, including Google Glass. In the past year, Google generated nearly $US18 billion in profits -- money that Page will be able to use to forward his grand visions for granting internet access to the world.

Page also appointed senior vice president of product Sundar Pichai to the 'second most important person in the company,' leaving Page free to make his grand visions a reality.

Sundar Pichai, 42

Senior vice president, Google

In October, Sundar Pichai was promoted by Google CEO Larry Page as the company's new senior VP of products. It's a big promotion for Pichai, who's now in charge of Google's core products, including search, maps, research, Google+, Android, Chrome, infrastructure, commerce, ads, and Google Apps. Before, he was head of Android and Chrome.

Since being promoted, Pichai has spearheaded the announcement of Android M, the new-generation version of Android, Google Photos, an app for Apple iOS and Android that offers automatic image sorting and unlimited photo storage, offline Google Maps, and more.

Nirav Tolia, 42

Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia poses for a portrait at the company's headquarters in San Francisco, California February 11, 2013. Neighbourhood social network start-up Nextdoor has raised another $21.3 million, even as many investors shy away from the sector in the wake of troubled Facebook initial public offering last year. Picture taken February 11, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Founder, Nextdoor

In March, Nextdoor, a neighbourhood-based social network, officially became a tech unicorn after raising $US110 million in funding that put the company's valuation at $US1.1 billion.

Nextdoor connects users with those who live close to them, creating a forum for discussing everything from neighbourhood crime to the best places to eat. Though others, including Foursquare and AOL, have had mixed luck with the neighbourhood-centric concept, founder Nirav Tolia believes Nextdoor's focus on small communities will make it an effective way to connect people. In the long term, the app also hopes to find a way to monetise the user recommendations.

David Marcus, 42

Vice president of messaging products, Facebook

Since joining the Facebook team last June, vice president of messaging products David Marcus has helped the company improve the app and roll out several features, including a Skype-like video-calling service and the ability to send locations to friends.

Before joining Facebook, Marcus spent three years as VP, then president of PayPal, where he reinvigorated the company by recruiting new talent, adopting new software tools, and developing the company culture. This background in mobile payments makes Marcus an ideal candidate to monetise the messenger app.

Mikkel Svane, 44

Cofounder/CEO, Zendesk

Mikkel Svane is the CEO of Zendesk, an enterprise cloud-based customer-service software company that handles businesses' technical and customer support. He took his company public in May 2014 despite early 2014's shaky SaaS market.

Zendesk ended up pricing its shares at $US9, much less than the $US12.50 per share it valued itself at just a couple months before. But Zendesk shares popped 49% on the day the company went public and have jumped nearly 150% so far. Zendesk is now worth roughly $US1.7 billion.

Renaud Laplanche, 44

Founder/CEO, Lending Club

Renaud Laplanche is the CEO of Lending Club, one of the world's biggest online lending marketplaces. Last year, Lending Club's IPO was the largest among all US tech companies. Laplanche founded Lending Club to let people provide low-cost financing to their peers. Now, it lets institutional investors do the same.

The online credit marketplace raised $US870 million in its IPO last December. Today, it's valued at $US6.5 billion.

Elon Musk, 44

CEO/CTO, SpaceX; CEO, Tesla Motors; chairman, SolarCity

Elon Musk has been busy. Last summer he announced he would be building a SolarCity plant in Buffalo, New York. The facility will be 'one of the single largest solar panel production plants in the world,' Musk said.

In addition, Musk announced he'd be building a five-mile-long Hyperloop track in Texas, designed for companies and students to test his design for a super-fast transportation system that will move people at 500 miles per hour in little 'pods.' Another Hyperloop track is set to be built starting in 2016, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Tony Fadell, 46

Nest Labs CEO, Google

When Google ended its Glass Explorer program in January, many presumed it was the end of the experiment. However, Google Glass -- which builds wearable computers mounted on eyeglasses -- is just getting started. The project was upgraded to its own department, now led by Nest CEO Tony Fadell.

Fadell will continue to run Nest, the home-automation company he cofounded, which Google purchased for $US3.2 billion last year, while figuring out what's next for Glass. In March, Google CEO Eric Schmidt hinted that the glasses might be on their way to the consumer market.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, 46

Employment-rights lawyer

Shannon Liss-Riordan, a Boston-based employment-rights lawyer, is
leading the charge against Uber and Lyft. She has represented drivers from both companies who have filed lawsuits, alleging they have been misclassified as 'independent contractors' when they should be classified as 'employees.'

Classifying workers as contractors is a common tactic for companies in the 1099 economy -- it keeps them from having to deal with things like payroll taxes, job expenses, antidiscrimination protections, and overtime pay. In June, the California Labour Commission ruled that an Uber driver is an employee. Uber plans to appeal.

Anthony Noto, 47

CFO, Twitter

Anthony Noto, a former Goldman Sachs banker, led Twitter's IPO. In July 2014, he became Twitter's CFO. When he arrived at Twitter, his annual salary was $US250,000, and he received $US64 million in Twitter stock (1.5 million shares), with the option to buy 5,000 more.

Noto has had a couple stumbles as CFO. In November he tweeted what was supposed to be a direct message about acquiring a company. He deleted it. In February, his Twitter account was hacked. Now that CEO Dick Costolo has decided to step down, Noto is on track to be one of the most powerful people at the company, although most insiders don't think he'll be picked as the next CEO.

Susan Wojcicki, 47

CEO, YouTube

When Susan Wojcicki, a longstanding Googler and ad executive, was picked to run YouTube in early 2014, she had her work cut out for her. Her main job was to help YouTube monetise its audience more effectively. Part of that included finding ways for YouTube to promote its home-grown stars like Bethany Mota and the
Epic Rap Battles duo and attract more high-quality and deep-pocketed advertisers to the service.

To help build out YouTube's tech offerings, Wojcicki has made a number of internal 'hires.' She also confirmed onstage at Re/code's Code/Mobile conference in October that YouTube would explore the launch of an ad-free subscription service.

Jony Ive, 48

Chief design officer, Apple

Sir Jony Ive has played a huge part in Apple's signature design for years, most recently with the release of the Apple Watch. The watch is Apple's first product in a new category since the company launched the iPad in 2010. It debuted to mixed reviews: Some analysts say people care less about it than even the iPod. An analytics firm estimates Apple has sold 2.79 million units of the Apple Watch since its debut in early 2015.

In May, Sir Jony, formerly Apple's senior VP of design, was promoted to the role of chief design officer. Two other Apple executives -- Alan Dye and Richard Howarth -- will take over Ive's role starting this summer.

Rob Bearden, 48

CEO, Hortonworks

Rob Bearden's company, HortonWorks, went public in December. HortonWorks distributes and supports an open-source technology called Hadoop, which was invented at Yahoo to store and arrange huge amounts of web data on low-cost hardware.

Hortonworks priced at $US16 on its opening day and jumped almost 50% to over $US24. HortonWorks raised about $US100 million and was valued at about $US1 billion at the time it went public.

Bill Gurley, 49

General partner, Benchmark Capital

As general partner at Benchmark Capital, Gurley invested in DogVacay, WeWork, Cyanogen, Uber, and many other startups -- but he's also repeatedly warned of the impending 'tech bubble' in Silicon Valley. In a SXSW keynote, he warned that Silicon Valley's optimism could lead to the demise of some of these $US1 billion-valuated 'unicorn' companies. It's unsettling for tech founders to hear, for whom achieving unicorn status is a badge of honour.

His latest battle cry is that the tech sector is in a 'dry bubble,' where lots of money is being poured into private companies but few liquidity events are happening.

Gurley is a board member of Uber, the world's largest private company worth $US50 billion, and his firm is invested in $US20 billion Snapchat.

Simon Khalaf, 49

President, CEO, Flurry

Last summer, Yahoo purchased mobile-analytics company Flurry for a substantial $US200 million. Flurry's technology monitors mobile users' trends and analyses how people use applications, potentially giving Yahoo an edge in mobile going forward. Yahoo has already added support for the Apple Watch to Flurry's analytics, letting app developers monitor how apps fare on the watch.

Before the acquisition, Flurry raised $US73.3 million through eight rounds of funding.

Mark Pincus, 49

Cofounder, CEO, Zynga

Mark Pincus is back on top. Though he stepped down as CEO of gaming company Zynga less than two years ago, the billionaire resumed his CEO role in April. Pincus launched Zynga in 2007 and found success through well-known games 'FarmVille' and 'Words With Friends.'

However, the company failed to adapt to changes in the gaming landscape and its stock fell tremendously. But with Pincus back at the helm, things are shifting, and it looks like it's for the better. Zynga beat earnings estimates for Q1.

Marc Benioff, 50

Cofounder/CEO, Salesforce

More than just a self-made billionaire CEO, Marc Benioff is a force for equal rights. Recently he made headlines for his plan to ensure equal pay for both men and women at Salesforce, through which the company will examine the salaries of all 16,000 employees. 'My job is to make sure that women are treated 100% equally at Salesforce in pay, opportunity, and advancement,' he said.

He also made waves when he threatened to reduce the company's investment in Indiana after the state passed a law that allowed business owners to refuse service to gay married couples. Pressure from Benioff and other business leaders eventually helped convince Indiana lawmakers to revise the law.

Benioff is regarded as a tech visionary, and his company continues to see record growth. Salesforce ended its last fiscal year with $US5.37 billion in revenue, a major milestone for a 100% cloud-computing company. He's also a major force in his home town of San Francisco: The Salesforce Tower is under construction and will be the tallest building in the city when done, and a childrens' hospital named after Benioff opened earlier this year.

Megan Smith, 50

US chief technology officer

As the country's CTO, Megan Smith oversees IT policies and initiatives across every sector of the economy. Since taking the post last September -- the first woman to ever hold the position -- Smith has advised President Obama on decisions surrounding net neutrality, helped improve how technology was used in the fight against Ebola, and built a website dedicated to celebrating women in science in tech.

Smith's no stranger to the consumer side of the tech industry. Before joining the White House team, she served as vice president of Google's secretive Google X division.

Andy Rubin, 52

Managing director, Playground Global

Andy Rubin, best known as the founder of Android -- which Google bought in 2005 -- left Google in the fall of 2014 to found a VC firm that will invest in robotics. Rubin was involved in robotics-related work at Google, but now he'll be providing hardware companies with the capital to go full-throttle in the robotics industry.

His venture, which he's calling Playground Global, has already raised a $US48 million fund, and with Rubin as the managing director, and an A-list board of directors that includes ex-Googler Matt Hershenson, former Microsoft executive Peter Barrett, and WebTV cofounder Bruce Leak, hardware companies can start lining up for funding.

Tim Cook, 54

CEO, Apple

Over the past year, Apple has rolled out two major new products under Tim Cook's leadership, the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch. In addition, Apple has announced plans to break into music streaming with the launch of Apple Music. It also announced iOS 9 and rolled out a new line of MacBooks.

Last October, Apple CEO Tim Cook made waves and was lauded by activist groups when he came out as gay, becoming the first and only openly gay CEO in the Fortune 500.

Reed Hastings, 54

Cofounder, CEO, Netflix

Netflix has been crushing the online-streaming-video category. The company raised a $US1.5 billion round of debt financing in February
to produce more original content. Wall Street also can't get enough of it: When news broke in May that Netflix may be entering China, its stock jumped to an all-time high. A month later, its stock broke a new record.

Netflix has even partnered with Marriott Hotels so you can watch movies and TV shows from the Netflix app while on vacation. The company recently launched a new website design.

Angela Ahrendts, 55

SVP of retail and online stores, Apple

In spring 2014, Angela Ahrendts left Burberry, where she served as CEO, to go to Apple. There she was named senior vice president of retail and online stores. Ahrendts, who is Apple's only female executive, made more than $US70 million last year; that's more than anyone else at Apple, including CEO Tim Cook.

Ahrendts also oversaw the rollout of the Apple Watch this spring, and it didn't quite go smoothly. Instead of having a seamless, easy ordering process by letting people order online and in stores, the shipping date for many models of the Apple Watch was delayed for months. Apple even removed the April 24 availability date from the Apple Watch page on its website, signalling that there were major delays with shipping the device.

Meg Whitman, 58

Chairwoman, president, CEO, Hewlett-Packard

HP announced that it would be undergoing massive multiyear layoffs in 2012. Since then, the company has eliminated 48,000 employees. It's on its way to eliminating 55,000 by October. And in November, Whitman will split HP into two companies, and the layoffs will likely continue.

Whitman has also said she'll be moving more jobs from HP's Enterprise Services unit offshore after HP splits in two. Last year, Whitman got a $US1.5 million raise and a $US4.3 million bonus.

Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, 68 and 52

Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.

Cofounders, Re/code

In May, Vox Media, which owns SB Nation and The Verge, bought Swisher and Mossberg's 18-month-old tech blog Re/code in an all-stock deal. Multiple sources told Business Insider at the time of the sale that the value of the deal was between $US15 and $US20 million, in addition to some stock incentives for Re/code's executives.

Swisher and Mossberg, the cofounders of Re/code, raised about $US10 million from investors, including NBC Universal and Windsor Media. Business Insider was told the company was on track to generate $US12 million this year largely from its conference business; the website pulled in only about 2.5 million monthly readers.

Despite the impressive revenue figure for such a young media company, Mossberg and Swisher noticed some disturbing trends in the media landscape that caused them to sell Re/code. Other websites, like Vox, had much larger audiences and had raised much more capital; Swisher and Mossberg would have had to give up their controlling stakes in Re/code if they wanted to remain independent.

They will be continuing to break tech news for Vox under new leadership, and they will help Vox build out a strong conference business.

Lynda Weinman, 60

Lynda Weinman, co-founder of


In April, online-learning website Lynda sold to LinkedIn. The deal, a $US1.5 billion cash-stock blend, closed in Q1. Most of Lynda's employees joined LinkedIn following the acquisition, which lets LinkedIn's 350 million users access the platform for skill building and education, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said.

Founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman and her husband, Bruce Heavin, lets users learn business, technology, software, and creative skills through videos. People can access Lynda on their own, and corporations and schools can purchase subscriptions.

Jimmy Iovine, 62

Cofounder, Beats Electronics

When Apple acquired Jimmy Iovine's Beats Electronics in May 2014, Iovine joined Apple at an undisclosed position. Along with Eddy Cue, Iovine helped launch Apple Music, Apple's music-streaming service. Apple announced the product in June on-stage at its big Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple Music will allow users to stream from a catalogue of over 30 million songs found on iTunes along with curated playlists and music videos. It competes with streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, and Tidal.

Ed Lee, 63

Mayor, San Francisco

Since he was first elected, Lee has aligned himself with the city's startup culture, visiting a new Silicon Valley-area startup every week. A survey conducted by Lee's administration found that, in general, San Franciscans really like the Silicon Valley tech industry and don't cite it as the main cause for the high cost of housing there.

Lee, who's up for reelection this year, found himself amid controversy a couple years ago when he gave rapidly expanding Twitter a tax break to move to a bigger office downtown rather than leave the city.

John Doerr, 64

Partners, Kleiner Perkins

Kleiner Perkins has been a legendary venture-capital firm in Silicon Valley for decades, and John Doerr is its undisputed leader. He's been in the game long enough to invest in now-legendary giants like Amazon and Google. Over the past year, Kleiner Perkins has made investments in Slack, Snapchat, Instacart, secretive virtual-reality company Magic Leap, Uber, and others. Nineteen of its portfolio companies have gone public or have been acquired in the past year, including Lending Club and Dropcam.

Earlier this year, Ellen Pao, a former Kleiner Perkins partner and assistant to Doerr, brought a sexual-discrimination case against the firm. Kleiner Perkins successfully defended itself in trial, with testimony by Doerr helping along the way. Last week, Doerr sent an email to friends and partners apologizing for the distraction caused by the trial and lamenting that it's 'so hard for women and minorities in the tech and venture industry.'

Art Levinson, 65

CEO, Calico

Calico is a company Google launched in September to try to cure death by tackling ageing and illness. Headed up by Apple chairman and former Genentech CEO Art Levinson, Calico is focused on extending human life. To that end, it's teamed up with research-based biopharmaceutical company AbbVie.

In September, the companies announced
a partnership to invest up to $US1.5 billion to research, develop, and bring to market drugs that could help prolong human life by fighting age-related diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's.

John Thompson, 66

Chairman, Microsoft; CEO, Virtual Instruments

John Thompson had a huge comeback in 2014 when he was named chairman of Microsoft. Thompson led the Microsoft CEO search committee, ultimately hiring Satya Nadella last year. He has been a huge proponent of Nadella, encouraging him to roll out initiatives at Microsoft.

Thompson got started at IBM and later became CEO of Symantec. He grew Symantec from $US600 million to $US6 billion in revenue when he left in 2009. Thompson is also the CEO of a five-year-old startup called Virtual Instruments, which offers software that helps big companies keep their most important applications from crashing. VI is on track to hit $US100 million in revenue.

Larry Ellison, 70

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison delivers the keynote address during the annual Oracle OpenWorld conference on September 30, 2014 in San Francisco, California..

Founder and former CEO, now chairman and CTO, Oracle

Oracle founder Larry Ellison stepped down from his CEO role in September and was succeeded by Hurd and Catz, who took over as co-CEOs. Ellison remains as chairman and CTO of the company; Catz, who was previously co-president and CFO, is now the world's highest-paid female executive; Hurd has been with Oracle since 2010 and was previously the CEO of HP.

Catz and Hurd have a big vision for the direction of the company, and their stepping up led to the stock hitting an all-time high. While Catz has said there would be 'no significant changes' in the company, Hurd points out that two CEOs are better than one as the company needs 'a lot of leadership.' Nonetheless, Ellison still quietly runs the show for the time being.

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