Meet the twentysomethings shaping your online world

Author

Olivia Goldhill

December 12, 2014

Step aside Zuckerberg – as the original internet whizzkids hit 30, check out the twentsyomething internet pioneers

No wonder Facebook has lost its cool. Now that the founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has hit 30, he’s practically a middle-aged business executive. He’s certainly a respectable owner of a long-established company. But just when those wonderkids grow up and stop undermining your own achievements with their multi-millions and impossible youth, a new generation of twentysomething over-achievers come along to make you feel resentful and underpaid.

Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, has yet to reach mid-twenties but runs a company worth $10bn (£6.4bn). The 24-year-old only moved out of his dad’s house last month yet claimed top spot in the Under 30 New Media Power List .

evan-spiegel_2736299c
The Snapchat founder only just moved out of his dad’s house

So who are the other overachieving entrepreneurs shaping your online world? Here are a few of the most successful twentysomethings in tech.

David Karp, founder of Tumblr, age 28

His floppy brown hair and soulful green eyes make David Karp the heartthrob of the tech world, while his estimated £200m (£128m) fortune make him an absurdly wealthy 28-year-old. Karp is founder and CEO of micro blogging platform Tumblr, which hosts more than 214m blogs, and in true tech-entrepreneur style, is known forhis low-key aestheticism. Karp only owns one suit and refuses to plan ahead on holidays, to allow for greater travel freedom. Amongst Tumblr’s many triumphs, the site is credited with popularising GIFs, an image format that allows people to post tiny clips on almost any device.

Barack Obama hosts live Tumblr Q&A about student debt, Washington DC, America - 10 Jun 2014
Heartthrob Karp founded Tumblr

Pete Cashmore, founder of Mashable, age 29

One of the few tech giants who’s not from the west coast of America, Cashmore grew up in Banchory, Scotland, and founded a tech blog called Mashable aged 19. The site had 2 million readers within 18 months, many of them part of the internet-focused twentysomething generation that Cashmore belongs to. Cashmore was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012 and when he’s not busy fulfilling his role as “Sage of Media”, he enjoyswatching Top Gear. Strange, but true.

2014 Social Good Summit - Day 2
Scottish Cashmore is one of the few non-west-coast-of-America entrepreneurs

Bobby Murphy, co-founder and CTO of Snapchat, age 26

Snapchat CEO Seigel may top the Under 30 New Media Power List but Chief Technology Officer Bobby Murphy isn’t faring too badly either. Murphy co-founded the Snapchat app, which allows users to send 400 million disappearing photos every day, and reportedly rejected a $3 billion (£1.9 billion) offer from Facebook last year. Like many tech entrepreneurs, he’s known for being stoic – “I’d describe him almost like a monk,” says David Kravitz, Snapchat’s first hire. Unlike many tech entrepreneurs, he has never sent a tweet .

Time 100 Gala, New York, America - 29 Apr 2014
Seigel’s snapchat co-founder is also under 30

Tracy Chou, software engineer at Pinterest, age 27

The Pinterest founders may have hit the big 3-0 but their star programmer, Tracy Chou, has been namedone of the most powerful women in the tech world, aged just 27. The Pinterest engineer has used her data skills to help make Silicon valley more gender-balanced and is the subject of an extensive profile in Vogue. According to the magazine, Chou has a strong fan base in the tech world: “At the Grace Hopper conference last year, she was like a rock star: ‘All these girls wanted to take their photo with her,’ a colleague recalls.”

TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 - Day 2
Chou is a star engineer in Silicon Valley

James Hirschfeld, founder of Paperless Post, age 28

Hirschfeld co-founded Paperless Post with his sister, Alexa, to allow its 45 million users to send hundreds of millions of elegant e-invitations. Earlier this year, the company raised its total funding to $37.4 million (£24 million). When not running Paperless Post, Hirshfeld enjoys vodka, European sneakers and overpriced doctors, and says you can’t blame his e-stationary for bad parties – “parties are only as fun as their hosts,” he says.

Derek Blasberg's stationary collection launch, New York, America - 24 Sep 2013
Hirschfeld co-founded Paperless Post in 2009

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