A Decade Of Disruption

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Osaka’s star power is soaring after she won this year’s U.S. Open and back-to-back Grand Slam events at the 2018 U.S. Open and the 2019 Australian Open. 

Her heritage—a Japanese mother and a Haitian-American father—and being a fresh face in the most lucrative sport for female athletes made her a marketing superstar. The 22-year-old racked up 15 endorsement partners, including Nike, Nissan, Shiseido and Mastercard, and she is now using her voice to call attention to racial injustice. 

Her social activism started this summer with her Twitter feed; last month she pulled out of a tennis tournament in protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake: “Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman.” 

She wore face masks throughout her 2020 U.S. Open title run with different names of Black people killed by police, including George Floyd, Trayvon Martin and Breonna Taylor.

— KURT BADENHAUSEN

When Wilde made 2014’s Hollywood and Entertainment list, the honor was as much for her versatile acting reel as it was for Conscious Commerce, an online philanthropic venture she cofounded that directs a portion of shoppers’ dollars to nonprofits. 

The year also marked a low for women in the director’s chair—less than 2% of 1,300 releases had a female director. Wilde is now part of her industry’s reckoning of its gender inequities; she made her 2019 directorial debut with indie flick Booksmart and has recently suggested she is working on an under-wraps Marvel movie whispered to be female-centric (and possibly focused on Spider-Woman). 

“I always assumed acting was the way in, because for many young women, they’re told, ‘You love movies—you should be a movie star,’” Wilde said earlier this year. “No one tells a little girl, ‘Why don’t you become a director?’”

– MAGGIE MCGRATH

All he wanted was ice cream. Nine-year-old Smith got his first taste of entrepreneurship when he was looking for cash to buy a cone, and started a business hiring friends to take out neighbors’ trash in his Chino Hills, California, suburb. 

After graduating from Howard University and earning two master’s degrees, he got a marketing job at Nike in 2013 peddling its Jordan brand. Seven years later, the now 35-year-old is calling his own shots as CEO of Unanimous Media, a multimedia production company he cofounded with NBA star Stephen Curry in 2018. 

Unanimous Media is behind the award-winning Starz documentary Emanuel and ABC’s Holey Moley and recently partnered with Sony Studios to broker production deals for underrepresented media talent. Upcoming projects include the sports drama Signing Day in partnership with John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co.

— BRIANNE GARRETT

Several phrases have been added to the media vocabulary—fake news and disinformation chief among them—since Stelter started his journalism career as the influential blogger behind TVNewser while still an undergrad at Towson University. 

In his latest book, Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, CNN host and chief media correspondent Stelter, 35, explores the relationship between the president and his favorite cable network. 

“The president is a television junkie. I never covered Barack Obama watching ESPN at night, because he wasn’t making life or death choices based on the basketball games,” says Stelter. “Journalists have to call out and correct the lies and smears polluting the air waves…It makes the stakes feel higher than five years ago.” 

His job has not only become more dangerous—he needs a bodyguard while attending political rallies—but more consequential: He knows that the man in the White House is watching.

— MADELINE BERG

Facebook cofounder Moskovitz left the social networking giant in 2008 to start work-collaboration app Asana. He held onto his Facebook stake, and three years later it made him the world’s youngest self-made billionaire—beating his college roommate, Mark Zuckerberg, by eight days. 

While Asana wasn’t a viral sensation, patience has paid off. It’s now a leading collaboration tool that touches nearly every aspect of team projects for more than 75,000 companies, including AT&T, Google and NASA. 

Thanks in part to the new world of remote work, accelerated by Covid-19, it generated sales of $142.6 million for fiscal 2020, up 86% year-to-year. “The goal was to be fast, but fast in the long run, not fast in the short run,” says Moskovitz. 

With Asana set to go public via direct listing this fall, the 36-year-old is thinking about his own future. The Giving Pledge signer has promised to use all proceeds from his Asana stock for philanthropy moving forward.

— ALEX KONRAD 

Wang, 33, founded Caviar in 2012 to bring food delivery from high-end restaurants to the masses. After raising $15 million in venture capital from elite firms like Tiger Global and Andreesen Horowitz, Wang’s app, then in four cities, was acquired by billionaire Jack Dorsey’s Square for $90 million in 2014. 

The next year he launched venture fund, Beluga Capital, focusing on early-stage food tech investments. He later signed on as a Halal Guys franchisee in Seattle; the second location opened on the ground floor of an Amazon office next to Facebook and Apple, this month. He also started a Bay Area-based chain of Thai chicken rice shops, which now has 10 locations.

— CHLOE SORVINO

Watt and Dickie have turned their hoppy, bitter homebrew—fermented inside a derelict Scottish shed—into a global cult brand valued at $2 billion, with revenues of nearly $300 million in 2019. 

Watt, 38, a former fisherman, and Dickie, 38, a brewer at England’s Thornbridge Brewery, started BrewDog in 2007 to convince people that beer could be more complex than a “generic pint of mass market lager.” 

In 2009, they came up with a radical strategy to crowdfund their brewery by offering fans a chance to buy shares through a program called “Equity for Punks.” Today, 145,000 “Punks” have invested some $97 million and hold about 22% of the privately-held company.  

In August, Watt and Dickie announced the purchase of 2,050 acres of Scottish Highlands to create a BrewDog Forest. It’s part of a $39 million investment in reducing the company’s carbon footprint, with plans to plant one million trees by 2022.

— KRISTIN STOLLER

In 2015, Markov Schneider was pregnant with her first child when she realized there were no prenatal vitamins available on the market she felt she could trust. Giving up a promising investing career with music mogul Troy Carter, Markov Schneider set about building Ritual, hiring scientists and conducting a 12-week clinical study with Auburn University. 

Today the Los Angeles-based startup has raised $40 million and offers subscriptions starting at $30 per month for adult men and women. As business has boomed during Covid-19, Ritual shipped one million bottles over the first half of 2020, up 75% from last year, and today sells a bottle every 16 seconds. 

Ritual’s prenatal multivitamin—well-used by Markov Schneider, 35, who recently gave birth to her third—sold out last month, racking up a waitlist of 20,000 expectant mothers.

— ALEX KONRAD

In 2016, Michael Tubbs made national headlines after becoming Stockton, California’s first Black mayor and, at just 26, the youngest mayor of a major U.S. city. Tubbs has continued to make news ever since. 

He aggressively backed Opportunity Zone tax breaks to attract Silicon Valley capital to Stockton’s beleaguered downtown. He launched a universal income pilot program, giving Stockton’s most impoverished $500 a month. He debuted Stockton Scholars which guarantees college tuition to high school graduates. Through a partnership with the violence interrupter program, Advance Peace, Tubbs has reduced murders by 40%. 

“We aren’t perfect, but people are talking about the city in a different way,” says Mayor Tubbs.  

His biggest surprise since taking the job? “There is an unrealistic expectation that the mayor has the key to solve every societal ill.” 

In August, Tubbs partnered with safety start-up Citizen to provide free mobile contact tracing and testing. Now he’s going Hollywood—in July, HBO released the feature-length documentary, Stockton On My Mind, which chronicles Tubbs as he tries to resurrect and reinvent the city. Good timing. He’s running to win a second term in November.

— STEVEN BERTONI

Before starting MikMak, Tipograph was a Gap rising star who caught the attention of the ad industry by spearheading unconventional marketing campaigns—notably a Tumblr takeover in the early days of social media. 

In 2014, she ditched her executive job to start her own e-commerce company. What began as a way to reinvent infomercials has now become a powerhouse startup with proprietary software that helps brands like Colgate, L’Oréal and Hershey link ad spend to consumer demand, inventory and B2B sales across two dozen channels, including Facebook and Instagram and big-box retailer sites such as Target and Walmart. 

Since Tipograph, now 33, opened shop, MikMak has raised $14 million; employee headcount has doubled to 60 since March when Covid-19 rapidly accelerated the growth of online shopping.

— MARTY SWANT

PHOTO CREDITS: Getty Images; Christie Hemm Klok for Forbes; Walter Smith for Forbes



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