Brian Wong: CEO of Kiip
Brian Wong, one of the co-founders of the Kiip mobile app, is also one of the world’s youngest entrepreneurs. Kiip is an app that has drastically changed the way advertisements are presented on mobile games. Instead of just being ads that presented no real value at to a user, Kiip partnered with different companies to provide real-life awards for game achievements.
With Kiip, gamers and other mobile app users can win different products from partner companies. Once a user achieves a certain achievement, instead of being provided with digital awards with no value, advertisers provide their products as an award. As such, both advertisers and mobile users end up in a win-win situation.
Brian Wong’s innovative idea for mobile advertising has earned him several awards. He is included in Business Insider’s list of 18 Most Important People in Advertising. He also belongs to Canada’s Top 20 under 20, and was included in Mashable’s Top 5 Young Entrepreneurs to Watch.
Dr. Gregory Jantz and The Center For Counseling and Health Resources
For individuals struggling with addiction, dealing with abuse, or coping with depression, hope can often seem like a resource in short supply, an elusive destination which never gets closer no matter how long they have been walking. This difficulty of maintaining hope in the face of adversity is exactly the challenge that Dr. Gregory Jantz was determined to address when he founded The Center For Counseling and Health Resources nearly 30 years ago.
While working as a licensed mental health counselor and eating disorder specialist in the early 1980s, Dr. Jantz began to question the current system which forced individuals in need to visit a variety of separate practitioners, from psychiatrists to doctors, from counselors to pastors, in order to receive care and treatment for their difficulties. How could struggling individuals possibly hold on to their sense of hope in the face of such fractured care? Why was it not possible for people to receive comprehensive, whole-person care in a single, supportive place? Spurred on by these questions, Dr. Jantz began to assemble a team of caring professionals who shared his vision for whole-person, inspired health care, and in 1984, The Center For Counseling and Health Resources was established in Edmonds, Washington.
Today, thanks to the vision and determination of Dr. Jantz, The Center is known throughout the world for its whole-person treatment philosophy. Addressing the root causes of unhealthy life patterns, The Center has helped hundreds of men, women, and adolescents overcome their mental, emotional, and physical challenges to lead healthy and happy lives. The Center offers a wide variety of programs, ranging from abuse and trauma healing to eating disorder recovery to spiritual renewal, all of which are customized to suit the unique needs of each individual.
Committed to spreading his vision of hope beyond the walls of The Center, Dr. Gregory Jantz frequently appears on radio and television programs and speaks with news outlets all over the world. He is also a prolific author, and to date has published 26 books on a variety of mental health and wellness subjects.
Nick D’Aloisio: Teenage Millionaire Entrepreneur
Born in 1995, Nick D’Aloisio is a teenage millionaire entrepreneur known for his work on Summly, a mobile app that used artificial intelligence to summarize news reports. Summly is a recipient of Apple’s 2012 Best Apps Award and D’Aloisio has won several awards himself, including Entrepreneur Award for 2012 presented by the Spirit of London Award.
Nick came up with the idea of Summly when he decided that the results search engines Google and Bing provided were very inefficient. He would often find himself searching for a keyword and hitting the back button to look at other sites. He argued that the best way to provide efficient search results of news stories was to create a summary and present this instead of individual stories.
His idea turned into a reality when he received funding for the project. He enlisted the help of a retired teacher and some Israeli programmers to work on the project.
Summly is the predecessor of Trimit, an IOS mobile app that unfortunately garnered quite a number of criticisms. Trimit was launched on March 2011, was redesigned and re-launched on December of the same year.
Although Trimit as an app was considered a failure, it was the reason that Nick D’Alosio became the youngest recipient of venture capital funding. Trimit was funded by a Hong Kong based venture capitalist after seeing its potential. Unfortunately, things did not go too well for the app and needed new funding when it was re-launched as Summly. This time, not only did funding come from its original venture capitalist, other celebrities like, Yoko Ono, Stephen Fry, and Ashton Kutcher, also gave their shares in funding the Summly project.
This time, Summly became a success. Yahoo got wind of the application and was almost instantly interested in purchasing it. Yahoo purchased the app from Nick on March 2013, for a reported $30 million.
Robin Li: Third Richest Person in China
Baidu is China’s version of Google’s search engine. Its founder and CEO, Robin Li, is reported by Forbes to be the 3rd richest person in China, with a net worth of $6.9 billion.
When Li founded Baidu, he was no stranger to internet search engine technology. In fact, he previously worked with Infoseek, one of the pioneering companies in internet search engines that was based in the Silicon Valley. He also holds a U.S. Patent for Rankdex, an algorithm that scores the popularity of websites and gives them an equivalent rank. Baidu is using the algorithm today.
Asides from being one of the richest persons in China, Robin Li sits on the 9th spot of the Forbes list of most powerful entrepreneurs in the world. The American Business Weekly named him as one of the best business leaders, in addition to being known in China as one of the most innovative people in the technological industry.
In addition to leading China’s most popular internet search engine, Robin Li also sits on the board of New Oriental Education & Technology Group, a Chinese company providing private educational services.
Masayoshi Son: CEO of Softbank
Listed by Forbes as one of the 12 most powerful entrepreneurs in the world, Masayoshi Son, the Chief Executive Office of Softbank, is also the 2nd richest person in Japan. He was estimated to have amassed a fortune that reached $8.1 billion in 2011. This was despite being known as one of the biggest losers in history – a title regretfully bestowed him when he lost around $70 billion when the dot com bubbled burst in 2000.
Very few entrepreneurs in history have been able to bounce back from losses even as close to what he lost during those times. Perhaps one of the reasons is his good will. Masayoshi is also known as a philanthropist, supporting victims of the Japan earthquake by donating $120 million and his remaining salary until he retired.
After the nuclear disaster in Japan, Masayoshi spearheaded a drive to develop solar energy. He heavily invested in the development of solar energy so that one day it would become Japan’s main source of energy, instead of relying on nuclear power.
Masayoshi’s family is not originally from Japan. They were from Korea and had adopted a Japanese surname to avoid discrimination. Masayoshi had a penchant for business. At the early age of 16, he went to the United States to study computer science, believing that technology would be the business wave of the future.
After completion of his studies, Masayoshi started to think of technological devices that would help him become successful in the business world. He successfully sold one of his inventions, a translation device, Sharp Electronics for $1 million. This would later be known as the Sharp PDA Wizard Series.
Masayoshi’s success in the business world has led him to become of the most influential businessman in Japan, and the whole world. Not only is he the CEO of Softbank, he is also the CEO of Softbank Mobile and Chairman of Sprint Corporation.
Lane Sutton: The Teenage Entrepreneur
At the young age of 16, Lane Sutton sure has a long way to go towards success. But for him, beginning the journey should know no bounds or age.
Born on January 31, 1997, Sutton is a young American entrepreneur and public speaker on technology and social media issues. he first became known to the public when he was 13 when The Boston Globe recognized him for meeting Tony Hsieh, speaking at PodCamp, and starting early in entrepreneurship. He also became a subject of national interest when he was 14 after being featured in The Wall Street Journal for guest lecturing at an Emerson College social media marketing class wherein he advised the students on how to manage big brands’ social campaigns.
Since May 2010, he has been speaking to the public about the industry of social media and marketing. He is also known for being a strong advocate of privacy and promoting awareness regarding the dangers of over-sharing and the importance of maintaining a positive online reputation.
Jan Cameron: Australia’s Fourth Richest Woman
To be among a country’s richest people is not always an easy feat. As with other successful entrepreneurs, Jan Cameron also had the determination, passion, and heart that make up the right formula for prosperity.
Jan Cameron, CNZM, is Australia’s fourth richest woman. She is the founder of clothing company Kathmandu and the owner of Retail Adventures. Currently, she runs a number of companies and business interests, not only in Australia but in other countries as well, including Canada, New Zealand, USA, and UK.
Cameron, together with John Pawson, founded Kathmandu in 1987 following their sale of the ALP Sports Clothing label. Kathmandu is a transnational chain of retail stores that specializes in the sale of outdoor clothing and equipment. In 2006, Jan sold 51% of her shares in the company for 247 million Australian dollars and this led her to acquiring the title of being the fourth richest woman in Australia.
She also used to be the sole shareholder of Discount Super Group before it was placed into receivership in 2012 with debts to unsecured creditors of $165 million. In early 2013, however, she was able to successfully bid to buy the company out of receivership for the amount of $58.9 million. Cameron also owns stakes in other major retail companies: 19% of Pumpkin Patch, 19% of Postie Plus Group, and an unknown percentage of Macpac. She is also the owner of the Canadian and New Zealand furniture retail company Nood (New Objects of Desire).
Born in 1963, Jan is also a dedicated philanthropist and is known for her avid support in animal rights. In 2010, she established the Animal Justice Fund where she donated five million dollars as initial funding. In May 2011, she donated 60 acres on the Freycinet Peninsula to allow the development of one of the three Devil Islands, a haven for Tasmanian devil breeding populations so that they will be isolated from the populations infected with the devil facial tumor disease.
Cameron is also a holder of the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) title, honoring her services to the business sector and her philanthropic work.
Alexander Spanos: Turning $800 to Billions
Alexander Spanos, a multi billionaire, and a member of the Forbes list of the Worlds Billionaires, is the owner of A.G. Spanos Companies, a real-estate development company known to be the largest apartment builder in the US. He is also became the owner of the San Diego Chargers when he bought 60% of their shares in 1984.
Alexander’s travel to the billon dollar list is quite interesting. It started in 1951 when he loaned $800 from a local bank to purchase a truck. He used that truck to deliver sandwiches and other bakery products to migrant farm workers. By 1955, Alexander had already by his first million dollars.
He used this money to invest in real estate, and A.G. Spanos Companies came to existence in 1960. Instead of focusing on different aspects of the real estate industry, he chose to focus on building apartments. Over the years, Spanos built an impressive portfolio of apartments, and in 1977, the company was recognized as United States’ largest apartment builder.
Ryan Kavanaugh: The Billion Dollar Producer
Ryan Kavanaugh is a self-made billionaire owing his wealth to a unique approach in the movie industry. Kavanaugh is the owner of the movie production company, Relativity Media. His production outfit has produced films, like Immortals, Mirror Mirror, and The Social Network. One of his recent productions was Safe Haven, a movie that grossed $50 million at a cost of only $25 million.
In the movie production industry, every movie produced is a risk to the producers. If the movie sells well, the producers make a fortune. However, if the movie flunks, then millions of dollars can be lost. Kavanaugh uses a system which helps him predict the chances of a movie making profit. The monte carlo system that he uses, predicts a movie’s success or failure, by considering different variables.
The monte carlo model is described to be similar to the model used in the movie, Moneyball, only that it predicts the success of a movie and not a baseball team. Interestingly, Kavanaugh was offered to produce that movie but his model didn’t give a good prediction of the outcome, so he refused.
Kavanaugh relies heavily on this model in deciding the movies to be produced by Relativity Media. If the system disagrees with a certain model, then the chances of Relativity Media producing it is next to nil.
His approach to the movie production industry may be unique, but it has certainly proven to be successful. In fact, so successful that Forbes Magazine picked Ryan Kavanaugh of Relativity Media, to be included in the World’s List of Billionaires.
Other than spending his time predicting whether certain movies will be successful, Kavanaugh also spends some of his time in philanthropy. He acquired Freehand, a charitable institution whose mission is to save the lives of dogs and other animals. He is also deeply involved in other charitable work. In fact, he was given the 2010 Hollywood Humanitarian Award by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for his charitable works.
Reid Hoffman: Harnessing the Power of the Internet
Reid Garrett Hoffman is a successful American entrepreneur, author, and venture capitalist. He is among the brilliant individuals who were able to harness the potential of the World Wide Web. He is known for co-founding the social network LinkedIn, which is primarily used for business connections and job hunting.
Born on August 5, 1967 in Stanford, California, Reid grew up in Berkeley, California. He earned a degree in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science from Stanford University, where he won both a Dinkelspiel Award and a Marshall Scholarship. He later on took up an M.A. in Philosophy from Oxford University.
Ever since college, Hoffman said that he has already formed the conviction that he wanted to be able to influence the state of the world on a large scale. At first, he thought that the academic field will give him the opportunities he was looking for, but he later realized that going the entrepreneurial route was what he needed to accomplish his goals.