The best of the best
Three former Waterloo students make all-time 30 Under 30 list compiled by Forbes
Three former Waterloo students make all-time 30 Under 30 list compiled by ForbesBy Brian Caldwell Faculty of Engineering
Three former students at the University of Waterloo are in impressive company on a who’s who of young luminaries from the worlds of business, sports and everything in between.
Grocery billionaire Apoorva Mehta, trucking disruptor Alex Rodrigues and cryptocurrency inventor Vitalik Buterin all appear on a Hall of Fame list of 30 Under 30 achievers released this week by influential business magazine Forbes.
Also on the list are basketball superstar LeBron James, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, singing star Rihanna, tennis champion Naomi Osaka and more than 20 others at the top of their fields.
Forbes compiled the all-star list to mark the 10th anniversary of its annual 30 Under 30 selections in 20 categories — meaning the 30 names on its Hall of Fame list were chosen from 6,000 winners in the last decade.
“Ten years. 100,000 nominees. 6,000 revolutionaries across 20 industries,” the magazine said in its introduction to the list. “Within this all-time 30 Under 30 list: a Nobel laureate, six social media bigwigs, two crypto kings, two EV evangelists and the top-earning female athlete ever.”
Mehta (BASc ’08), 35, made the list as the founder of Instacart, a privately held grocery-delivery business worth an estimated US$39 billion and in operation in more than 5,500 cities.
He earned a degree in electrical engineering from Waterloo in 2008 and failed with 20 other startup ideas before hitting on the concept for Instacart in 2012. Based in San Francisco, he now has a personal net worth of US$3.5 billion.
Rodrigues, 26, is co-founder and CEO of Embark Technology Inc., which went public via a merger last month with an estimated US$5-billion valuation just five years after its launch. The deal makes him the youngest CEO of a publicly traded company and puts his personal wealth at about US$500 million.
He and co-founder Brandon Moak were in year two of the mechatronics engineering program at Waterloo in 2016 when they hit the road for Silicon Valley with a self-driving golf cart they had built in the back of a pickup truck. They are now a major force in the autonomous trucking industry.
Buterin, 27, inventor of the Ethereum blockchain and cryptocurrency, as well as co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine, is one of the world’s youngest known crypto billionaires with an estimated personal fortune of US$1.4 billion.
He studied Computer Science at Waterloo for a year before winning a US $100,000 fellowship from the Thiel Foundation in 2014 to pursue his passion for the fledgling field of cryptocurrencies full-time.
At least two people with connections to Waterloo also made North American 30 Under 30 lists for 2022.
Ryan Brown (BASc ’18), a Velocity alumni and co-founder of Salient Energy, has been recognized in the energy category. And Anna Wang, a systems design engineering student and co-founder of Copysmith, has been recognized in the enterprise technology category.
View the complete lists for 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30.
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