Forbes 30 Under 30

Every year, Forbes publishes their 30 Under 30 list -- a curated selection of the year's innovators and game-changers across 20 different industries, from media to social entrepreneurship.

We know that Columbians are precocious and inspiring - both things that this list celebrates - and so are naturally well-represented among the year's young standouts. Even the editor of Forbes 30-under-30 list is a Columbia J-school grad.

Presenting the Class of 2016: 600 of the brightest young entrepreneurs, breakout talents and change agents in 20 different sectors.

-Caroline Howard '01JRN
 30-under-30 editor

Read on to see more outstanding young Columbians recognized this year.  And if you know of any who we left out, please help us update the list by e-mailing the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) at [email protected]



Jonathan Birnbaum '16BUS - Finance

Vice President, Morgan Stanley

Chief operating officer of bank's U.S. credit treading group, managing some 100 bankers trading investment grade, high yield and distressed debt. Building financial technology inside a big bank, like a new algorithmic tool that helps sales and trading groups match corporate bond buyers and sellers.


Adam_Elmachtoub.pngAdam Elmachtoub - Science

Assistant Professor, Columbia University, SEAS

How do customers choose products? How should online sellers manage their supply chains? These are among the questions Dr. Elmachtoub is trying to solve. An assistant professor at Columbia University, Elmachtoub's research is focused on using data science and optimizing algorithms to make businesses more efficient.


Amanda.pngAmanda Gutterman '13CC - Media

Cofounder, Slant

Gutterman's goal when she helped create Slant's 70% revenue share model: keep emerging writers from being forced to take on unpaid internships or giving away their work for free. In October Slant brought in over 2 million unique visitors, meaning some writers earned hundreds of dollars.


Kinnos.pngKatherine Jin '16CC, Jason Kang '16SEAS, Kevin Tyan '16CC - Healthcare

Cofounders, Kinnos

Healthcare workers in Liberia were among those most likely to contract Ebola. That inspired this trio of Columbia undergrads who came up with a new protection: a disinfectant that is colored, so doctors and nurses can be sure every surface is coated, and that fades away when the germs should all be gone.


Jordana_Kier.pngJordana Kier '14 BUS - Retail & Ecommerce

Cofounder, LOLA

Her direct-to-consumer, subscription-based feminine care company launched this year (with cofounder Alexandra Friendman) and has raised $1.2 million in VC backing. Lola tampons are 100% hypoallergenic cotton, without additives, dyes, chemicals, or synthetics.


Shana_Knizhnik.pngShana Knizhnik '10CC - Media

Co-author, Notorious RBG

Currently a judicial law clerk on Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Knizhnik created the uber popular Notorious RBG Tumblr in 2013 following RBG's dissent after part of the Voting Right's Act was struck down. In October, HarperCollins published the now-New York Times best-selling "Notorious RBG" book, co-written with MSNBC's Irin Carmon.


Stephanie_Korey.pngStephanie Korey '15BUS - Retail & Ecommerce

Cofounder, Away

She ran the supply chain at Warby Parker and Casper before going into business with list alum Jen Rubio, recently raising $2.5 million to launch Away, bringing high-end luggage to the mass market.


Christopher_Lorn.pngChristopher Lorn '10CC - Marketing & Advertising

Consumer journey and analytics lead, Philip Morris International

Lorn recently joined international tobacco company Philip Morris International as consumer journey and analytics lead. Prior to taking on this new role, he served as director of analytics at Big Spaceship, a digital agency where he developed campaigns for brands like Samsung Mobile and Purina.


Roy_Moran.pngRoy Moran '12LAW - Law & Policy

Counsel, FanDuel

Columbia Law School grad Roy Moran is lead corporate counsel at fantasy sports site FanDuel. He previously represented more than 40 startups as an associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, including Casper, Fly Blade and Mack Weldon, as well as working on OwnEnergy's acquisition by EDF Renewable Energy.


Helen_Nigatu.pngHeben Nigatu '14CC - Media

Senior editor, BuzzFeed

Along with Tracy Clayton, Nigatu co-hosts the popular and influential BuzzFeed podcast Another Round. The show, which has monthly listener numbers in the hundreds of thousands, has already attracted a slew of high profile guests, like Hillary Clinton.


Rami_Rahal.pngRami Rahal '09SEAS - Venture Capital

Cofounder and General Partner, Blue Cloud Ventures

Rahal co-founded Blue Cloud Ventures, a NYC growth-stage firm focused on co-investing in software-as-a-service companies alongside top VC firms, at age 25. Blue Cloud has raised more than $65 million across two funds from 30 software CEO and high net worth individuals, which Rahal has invested in 16 companies such as Vidyo, BTI Systems, Tapad, CloudBees,, and Lattice Engines. Rahal has had two major exits from his first fund.



Jerelyn Rodriguez '11CC - Education

Cofounder, The Knowledge House

Rodriguez grew up in the South Bronx and was among the first students at KIPP, the groundbreaking charter school. She graduated from Columbia University on full scholarship and has worked in city politics and ed reform. In 2014 she launched the Knowledge House in her home neighborhood. TKH is building a STEM education-to-jobs pipeline in underserved neighborhoods, and has served some 300 young people in five program sites.


Chelsey_Roebuck.pngChelsey Roebuck '10SEAS - Education

Cofounder, Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering

Roebuck is leveling the playing field for under-represented populations in STEM by increasing access: to school-based programs, summer camps, e-learning platforms and diverse professionals. He founded ELiTE in 2011 after teaching at a summer camp in Ghana with his Columbia University engineering classmates: "I decided that I no longer wanted to be a management consultant because my true calling was in STEM education."


Alok_Shetty.pngAlok Shetty '11GSAPP - Social Entrepreneurship

Architect and Founder, Bhumiputra Architecture | India

Shetty is on a mission to improve the quality of life in the slums. After returning to India in 2012, he worked with Bangalore residents to overhaul their homes. His designs were unusual, made from recycled and readily available materials and built with a jack that could prop up the house to avoid floods and rat infestations. Some 50 homes were built for 200 people. Now Shetty is on to his next project: building 600 homes for 2,400 people in the city of Belgaum. 

Anna_Stork.pngAnna Stork '11GSAPP - Social Entrepreneurship

Cofounder, LuminAID

About 1.1 billion people lack electricity access, a problem worsened by natural disasters. Partnering with clients like Doctors Without Borders, LuminAID's solar-powered packs inflate into portable lights and are used in relief efforts after tragedies like the Nepalese earthquake. They're also popular with individual customers for camping and first aid.


Sophia_Sunwoo.pngSophia Sunwoo '17SIPA - Social Entrepreneurship

Cofounder, Water Collective

Water Collective aims to bring long-lasting, clean water to rural communities in Africa and India. The organization does this by using in-country engineers to create solutions for particular water crises afflicting these areas and, later, teach the community how to maintain water independence.



Michael Tannenbaum '10CC - Finance

Vice President, SoFi

Helped SoFi's CEO negotiate $1 billion SoftBank-led investment, the largest ever for a fintech company. Also manages treasury and liquidity operations for the lending platform, which originates $800 million worth of mortgages, personal loans, and refinanced student loans a month.


Michael_Wang.pngMichael Wang - Manufacturing & Industry

Cofounder, FutureAir

Wang is a cofounder and chief engineer at FutureAir, a New York-based startup building connected air conditioners and fans that help reduce wasted cooling and carbon emissions. He is also an adjunct assistant professor of electrical engineering at Columbia University, where he helped develop the engineering school's internet-of-things curriculum.


Did we miss anyone? Let us know and we'll add them - just e-mail us at [email protected]

(all descriptions are taken from Forbes)