Physics alumnus makes 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list

Friday, December 7, 2018

30 under 30From manufacturing and industry, robotics, healthcare and more, eleven of Waterloo’s alumni and former students have earned spots on the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. The list, which represents innovative minds from Canada and the United States, stretches across 23 categories for a total of 600 people. Among the group, are two Science alumni who are shaking up the areas of music and customer relations. 

Meet your 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Physics Alumnus

Kartik TalwarKartik Talwar (BSc ’16)
Company: Investor, SV Angel
Education: Faculty of Science - Physics
Category: Venture Capital

When Kartik Talwar is an Associate and Investor with SV Angel, a San Francisco-based seed fund. Talwar joined the company August 2016 where he tackled its portfolio of more than 500 companies head-on by building an internal customer relationship managment (CRM) software to track all investments, deals, financing, requests and relationships. The tools now help manage the thousands of investments SV Angel considers each year. During his studies at Waterloo, Talwar worked in co-op roles as a software engineer for companies including SV Angel, Salesforce and Tagged.

Meet the other nine Waterloo alumni and former students taking top honours in five different industries.

Portrait of Alexander Rodrigues and Brandon MoakAlexander Rodrigues & Brandon Moak​
Company: Co-founders, Embark
Education: Faculty of Engineering - Mechatronics Engineering
Category: Manufacturing & Industry

Embark is the world’s leading developer of self-driving trucks and operates the longest automated freight in the world. Three years after the company was initially founded by former Waterloo engineering students Alex Rodrigues and Brandon Moak, the now San Francisco-based company has raised $62+ million in four rounds of venture funding. The pair met while living at the Velocity Residence, and in the Spring of 2015, they took home a $25,000 prize at the Velocity Fund Finals for a concept involving autonomous shuttles around campus. Embark’s goal is to tackle the southwestern portion of the U.S.’s I-10 freeway, a large commercial trucking corridor.  Embark’s fleet carries loads mainly between Ontario, California and Phoenix, and is also expanding into Texas and Florida.

Portrait of Darren Fung and Cameron DearsleyDarren Fung (BSE ’14)
Company: Co-founder, Drop
Education: Faculty of Engineering - Software Engineering
Category:  Consumer Technology

A company built by brothers, Darren and Derrick Fung launched Drop in late 2016. Drop is a free app that replaces the traditional store loyalty card and allows users to redeem points in the form of gift cards. More than two million people have registered to use the service. Prior to co-founding Drop, Darren worked for notable companies including Eventbrite, Amazon and Bitmaker in software engineering, software development engineering and mentoring roles.

Portrait of Deon Nicholas and Sami GhocheDeon Nicholas (BMATH ’15)
 Co-founders, Forethought
Education: Faculty of Mathematics - Computer Science Honours
Category: Enterprise Technology

Forethought hopes to make everyone a genius at their job. Co-founded by computer science alumnus Dean Nicholas in 2017, Forethought uses an AI agent called Agatha Answers to embed information retrieval into existing employee workflows. The result? Better support for employees and their workflows, rather than automating the work of real people. Before Forethought, Nicholas worked at Pure Storage, a company that helps customers adopt next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, and helped build FlashBlade, an all-flash file-system that is used by companies including Mercedes and the NHL. Nicholas was also an early member of the Collaboration team that wrote the Inline Annotations feature for Dropbox, and also contributed code to the Drobox Badge.


Portrait of Greta CutulencoGreta Cutulenco (BSE ’14)
Company: Co-founder, Acerta
Education: Faculty of Engineering - Software Engineering
Category: Manufacturing & Industry

Software engineering alumnus Greta Cutulenco is CEO and Co-Founder of Acerta Analytics Solutions, an AI platform that uses machine learning to detect malfunctions and predicts failures for vehicles coming off the assembly line or being driven. The company’s goal is to transform data analytics into actionable insights to boost manufacturing and quality insurance decisions. The company began as a research project while Cutulenco and founding partners (Sebastian Fischmeister and Jean-Christophe Petkovich) were working in Waterloo’s Embedded Systems Lab and noticed a shortage for interpreting data to help instruct product improvements. 

Portrait of Henry Shi Henry Shi (BSC ’14)
Company: Co-founder, SnapTravel
Education: Faculty of Mathematics - Computer Science
Category:  Consumer Technology

SnapTravel allows you to find and book hotels over Facebook Messenger and SMS text.  Co-founded by Waterloo mathematics alumnus Henry Shi in 2016, SnapTravel uses an AI system to scour sources in order to find the best hotel deals. SnapTravel will also call hotels the day of check-in to negotiate free upgrades for their customers.  So far, the company has raised more than $9 million in venture funding. Committed to Waterloo excellence, SnapTravel has hired at least four Waterloo co-op students since 2017 and employs at least another four Waterloo alumnus. Prior to Shi’s beginnings with SnapTravel, Shi worked for companies including Google Inc. as a software engineer, Bloomberg Sports as a software developer, and even created a college-based app called uMentioned that allows users’ to anonymously connect/make friends with people nearby. Shi is a former Co-op Student of the Year award recipient (2012), top Co-op Student in Canada recipient (2012) and recipient of a national scholarship provided by the University of Waterloo.

Portrait of Nohemie MawakaNohemie Mawaka (BA ’13)
Company: Founder, Stats Congo
Education: Faculty of Arts - French
Category: Healthcare

Having grown up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nohémie Mawaka says she witnessed far too many women being forced to accept their current life circumstances because there was no other societal alternative. This included women being forced to stay in horrible marriages out of financial dependency, to her aunt dying of AIDS since no medication was available in the Congo until the early 2000s. It’s for this reason Mawaka dedicated her life to public health, founding Stats Congo in 2017, the first Congolese national maternal and newborns health centralized database. Mothers and newborn populations in the Congo face one of the highest mortality rates in the world. Stats Congo also hopes to help hospitals move into the digital space and ultimately become paperless.  Before founding Stats Congo, Mawaka interned for the World Health Organization (WHO) where she gained extensive experience in global disease epidemiology. Mawaka is also author to Unleash your confidence.

Portrait of Praveen ArichandranPraveen Arichandran (BA ’13, BASc ’13)
Company: Director of Growth, Tesla
Education: Faculty of Arts – Economics and Faculty of Engineering - Computer Engineering
Category: Marketing & Advertising

Praveen Arichandran joined Tesla’s executive team as head of growth in 2016 at the age of 25.  According to Forbes Magazine, Arichandran has lead Tesla in non-traditional marketing and advertising models with a word-of-mouth approach, building digital tools to reward owners for sharing Tesla products with their friends. Arichandran is reportedly the youngest executive hired by Elon Musk at Tesla.  Prior to his role with Tesla, Arichandran held the position of product manager and data analyst of growth at Facebook, quantitative/technical equity research at BMO Capital Markets, and an engineer of software and hardware at AMD, an American multinational semiconductor company that develops computer processors/related technologies for businesses and consumer markets.

Portrait of Mike DarlingtonMike Darlington (BSc '12) & Ari Paunonen (BASc '12)
Company: Co-founders, Monstercat
Education: Faculty of Science - General Science and
                  Faculty of Engineering - Management Engineering
Category: Music

Monstercat (previously Monstercat Media) is an electric dance music record label based out of Vancouver. Founded in July 2011 by science and engineering alumni Mike Darlinton and Ari Paunonen, the pair moved their music label out west following their graduation in 2012. Unlike other labels, Monstercat signs individual tracks rather than the artists themselves, providing more opportunities for artists to get signed at any level. The company has grown to 45 employees, $10 million in annual revenues and has a YouTube channel (Uncaged) that boasts more than 7.1 million subscribers. Recently, Monstercat has expanded to include publishing, merch and even eSports gaming management. Darlington and Paunonen led the marketing campaign for Marshmello's platinum smash "Alone".

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