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hen Massachusetts Institute of Technology dropout Alexandr Wang made the Forbes 30 Under 30 Enterprise Technology list in 2018, his startup Scale used artificial intelligence to begin automating tasks like image recognition and audio transcription. Back then, its customers included GM Cruise, Alphabet, Uber, P&G and others.
Now Wang, 25, is the youngest self-made billionaire. And while he still partners with buzzy companies, today he’s got $110 million in government defense contracts. This has helped Scale hit a $7.3 billion valuation, and give Wang a $1 billion net worth (as he owns 15% of the company).
Learn more about the math whiz dropout billionaire here.
This 300-person group of Asia-focused leaders is as diverse as it is impressive. Some standouts include Olympian Eileen Gu, Squid Games star Hoyeon and the Stanford dropouts behind India-based near-unicorn Zepto, reportedly valued at $900 million after its latest $200 million series D round led by Y Combinator this month.
This Week’s Money Moves
In 2014, Patrick and John Collison made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for their startup that allowed businesses to bill by credit card on the internet. Now the Irish brothers’ company Stripe is worth $95 billion, and each brother about $9.5 billion—and they’re facing competition from startups and legacy players alike. Our cover story details their plan to stay on top. (Forbes)
Failures in the buy now, pay later space are about to punish everyone, but young consumers will get hit hardest. (New York)
Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia gives high school graduates shares of Airbnb as part of his commencement address. (Forbes)
These guys built a platform to make sure your VCs are being useful, and it’s raised $8 million in seed funding. (Forbes)
Another startup raised $10 million to make Lidar versions of iPhone cameras. (Forbes)
How will crypto fare in a down market? Despite Terra’s jaw dropping collapse, there’s a few signs crypto may do just fine. Here are a few:
—Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto unit, known as a16z crypto, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $4.5 billion for its fourth fund. (Forbes)
—JPMorgan thinks that Bitcoin is undervalued as it calls cryptocurrencies its preferred alternative assets. (Forbes)
—Sequoia China-backed crypto financial services firm Babel Finance nabbed a $2 billion valuation after an $80 million round. (Forbes)
—Ethereum scaling company StarkWare quadrupled its valuation to $8 billion. (Forbes)
Behind The Story
I have no children, nor do I plan to have any in the near future (maybe ever)—but the kids are turning my stomach. I’m outraged, devastated and grieving for the Uvalde community. And I’m thinking about new caregivers driving miles to find formula for their infants and malnourished Ukrainian children.
So some signs of optimism for kids are welcome. This week, I shone a speck of light on two Forbes Under 30 founders, Michelle Egger and Laura Katz, who are working separately to introduce synthetic breast milk to the infant nutrition market.
Egger has raised $20 million for her BioMilq from buzzy backers like Bill Gates to grow breast milk from human cells, while Katz has raised $25 million from VCs and angel investors to ferment yeast into synthetic human milk. Though both founders are years from being able to stock formula-depleted shelves with their products, they’re confident their technologies will give modern parents the best nutrition options for newborns. However, others I interviewed are skeptical about consumer uptake. Who will be the first to feed their infant synthetic breast milk?
Read my full story here.
This group of under 30s is reinventing how we shop—online and off.
Do you know someone creating the next Instagram, Stripe or Spotify? Nominate them (or yourself!) today. Do so here →