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4 NRIs among US's coolest young entrepreneurs

Last updated on: August 23, 2010 16:12 IST

4 NRIs among US's coolest young entrepreneurs

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Yoshita Singh in Boston

Four Indian-Americans have been named among 30 of America's 'coolest young entrepreneurs' by monthly business magazine Inc that describes its young achievers as people, who are 'building unique brands, making money along the way and changing the way we do business'.

Naveen Selvadurai, 28, co-founder of social networking app 'Foursquare', 26-year old Vikas Reddy who co-founded technology start-up 'Occipital', Sachin Agarwal, 30 of San Francisco-based start up 'Posterous' and 22-year old Stanford graduate Ooshma Garg have been named in the '30 under 30' 2010 list of 'America's Coolest Young Entrepreneurs' by the New York-based magazine.

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Image: Naveen Selvadurai.

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"They are bringing innovation to market, building unique brands, nurturing trends, giving back and making money along the way," Inc says of the young men and women on its list.

Selvadurai, a former software architect, co-founded Foursquare in 2009. Foursquare is a mobile application that is a "friend-finder, a social city guide as well as a game". With more than two million users, the business is currently valued at nearly $100 million.

The start-up is still growing steadily by 100,000 new members a week, with plans for a big redesign soon.

"We are all obsessed with what we want to build and think about it all day long. If you are really excited about a redesign and only half way there, you go to sleep and dream about the rest of it," says the New York based entrepreneur.

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Image: Vikas Reddy.

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Inc says a 'defining characteristic' of this generation of entrepreneurs is that they are highly likely to start companies with partners.

"For them, building a business is not a lone pursuit, but rather an extension of their social lives". Another thing that stands out about this year's young entrepreneurs is that their "generational fascination with all things social extends deeply into their entrepreneurial zeitgeist," the magazine adds.

Reddy co-founded Occipital, a technology start-up in Colorado in 2008. The business has developed RedLaser, a best-selling iPhone app that lets users scan barcodes.

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Image: Sachin Agarwal.

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Since debuting in May 2009, RedLaser has been downloaded more than two million times, making it one of the most popular paid-iPhone apps in the market.

The company recently sold RedLaser to eBay and used the proceeds from the deal to hire three engineers who are now working on 'developing more cool products'.

In 2009, Occipital earned one million dollars in revenues and is targeting $2.5 million this year.

Agarwal co-founded Posterous in 2008 with an aim to 'make blogging as simple as sending an e-mail'.

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Image: Ooshma Garg.

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The San Francisco-based start-up has raised more than $5 million and is backed by American start-up funding firm Y Combinator.

"Instead of logging into Facebook to post photos, or writing your thoughts down in a blogging platform, Posterous makes it feasible to do all that from an e-mail account," explains Garry Tan, Posterous's co-founder.

The service is currently free, but Posterous is working on rolling out a premium paid service that would provide users with more space.

Tan says the offering would be an attractive tool for business owners since a lot of business is currently conducted over e-mail.

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"Our goal is to publish the world's info," says Tan.

"Google lets you search for it, but we want to post it for you," he adds.

A recent Stanford graduate, Garg 22, founded 'Anapata', an online recruitment site for "law firms that want to reach a diverse population of law school graduates".

"The company's analytics package for employers has proven to be as much of a draw as its recruiting services," Inc says.

Garg now hopes to expand by reaching out to business school recruiters. Inc further adds that apart from 'making money and building unique brands,' a lot of entrepreneurs on its list support several philanthropic causes.

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Even as the young entrepreneurs are getting their businesses off the ground, they are also taking time out to volunteer in places such as women's shelters, nursing homes, East Africa and Haiti.

"The young entrepreneurs tend to integrate social missions into their companies right from the start.

"Waiting until the big profits start rolling in to infuse their companies with greater meaning just doesn't seem like an option to them," it said.

For many of them, community service is every bit as important as community building and 'all of it is wrapped up in an innovative and inspiring entrepreneurial package,' Inc adds.



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