These Under 30s are harnessing technology and talent to impact the future of marketing, storytelling, business and the creator economy.
By Emmy Lucas and Anthony Tellez
lloy Automation cofounder Sara Du has never been one for a formalized education. After teaching herself to code, she left high school early and, in 2018, moved into the Menlo Park “Facebook House”—the former five-bedroom home to Mark Zuckerberg and the early Facebook team that has since turned into a hub for upcoming entrepreneurs. There, she built apps and first learned about automation softwares.
After a few months at the frat-style house for future founders, Du decided to go to college at age 18. “I didn’t want to be a weird, under-socialized dropout kid—yet,” says Du, now 22 and one of this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 2023 Marketing & Advertising honorees.
After a year at Harvard University, she left school yet again for the Valley with plans for a gap year. She worked at Snap for three months, helping build out the private stories feature, and then landed a design internship at e-commerce platform Wish for a month. Meanwhile, she began building automation platform Alloy Automation with cofounder and fellow 2023 lister Gregg Mojica, 24. She put it up on website, app and technology product-sharing marketplace Product Hunt where “it blew up overnight” and quit her internship the next day.
She never returned to Harvard, and the pair launched Alloy Automation in late 2019. “You could call it an infinite leave of absence,” she says.
Since then, Alloy Automation has grown to 30 employees and raised $27 million to date, with a $20 million Series A from Andreessen Horowitz in February. The platform acts as a control panel for e-commerce brands: Its no-code interface connects and automates sales-related tasks across apps like Shopify, Mailchimp and Salesforce, helping brands streamline shipping, billing, digital marketing and customer service. Their thousands of users include Burberry and Brooklinen.
“Many companies use software as a means to an end, but we think of it as a product people should love,” Du says.
For more than a decade, Forbes has highlighted young founders, marketing experts and entrepreneurs in our annual 30 Under 30 Marketing & Advertising list, with the help of nominations from the public and former listers. To be considered for this year’s list, all candidates had to be under the age of 30 as of December 31, 2022, and never before named to an Under 30 list.
This year’s judges—Jeff Goodby, partner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners; Natalie Guzman, CMO and co-president at Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty; Tariq Hassan, CMO of McDonald’s; and Kelsey Davis, founder of portfolio platform CLLCTVE and a 2021 Under 30 alumna—evaluated the candidates.
Of those named to the final list, half are first-generation citizens and five are immigrants. A third identify as people of color. The list includes the unconventional marketers—content creators and founders shaping the creator economy.
Take lister Robyn DelMonte, 28, as an example. The creator, perhaps better known by her social media handle @GirlBossTown, has become TikTok’s personal public relations expert, breaking down popular trends and brands’ PR moves and providing marketing advice and ideas to her over 580,000 TikTok followers.
Most recently, DelMonte is responsible for dubbing the viral “red-nail theory,” which was even seen sported by Under 30 lister Hailey Bieber in her Tiffany & Co. campaign. “I weirdly think that guys are attracted to red nails because it reminds them of their moms when they were growing up taking care of them,” DelMonte theorized on TikTok.
Creators like listers DonYe Taylor, 27, and Julia Montgomery, 27, are also taking to social media to share their own marketing, public relations and career tips and tricks.
Shaping the creator economy, honorees Johnathan Ben-tzur, 28, and Yoav Zimmerman, 28, cofounded Trendpop, an analytics startup building artificial intelligence-powered tools to help anyone go viral on social media. The Y Combinator-backed company has worked with Atlantic Records, United Talent Agency and Pearpop, helping brands identify trends and emerging creators, pinpoint characteristics that contribute to virality and predict how to fuel future growth.
On the flipside, companies like Glewee, Grovia and Influent are helping the creators themselves. Cofounders Christian Brown, 24, and Dylan Duke, 23, created Glewee to act as a talent agent or manager while Montgomery’s Influent and Grovia, cofounded by Ian Brodie, 26, and Rob Schab, 27, work to pair brands with influencers.
Elsewhere, Chidera Ufondu, 29, creative lead for brand partnerships at Netflix, and Keturah “Tori” Carter, 28, senior team lead of brand social at Hulu, are innovating the intersection of social media and traditional media, connecting TV shows and movies with creators and brand partnerships.
Others are taking advantage of current workplace trends. Kishore Kothandaraman, 28, raised $28 million in Series A funding for his startup Goldcast. The business-to-business event marketing platform is capitalizing on the remote and hybrid work era, focusing on not only in-person events but also hybrid and digital.
Also featured on this year’s list are young CMOs and marketing heads: Ábel Czupor, 20, of RadioShack; Alexa Ritacco, 28, at Jenni Kayne; Jessica Chi, 29, at Fenty Skin; Will Mayer, 28, at Equinox; and Harrison Edwards, 28, at Bitchin’ Sauce.
Others like Faique Moqeet, 28, Andrew Spalter, 29, and Mike Berro, 26, have their own marketing, advertising and public relations companies.
This year’s list was edited by Emmy Lucas and Anthony Tellez. For a link to our complete Marketing & Advertising list, click here, and for full 30 Under 30 coverage, click here.