The marks of a great entrepreneur are usually characterized by similar traits: determination, curiosity, passion, adaptability and a willingness to take risks. When a person founds a successful company by way of high-growth, profitability and disruption, it’s likely he or she possess the Jobs- and Musk-esque qualities to innovate, rinse and repeat.
In New York City, these type of entrepreneurs — the ‘serial’ entrepreneur — are shaping the local tech industry, and are now working on their second, third or fourth successful venture. Here are 11 serial entrepreneurs you may not know about, and the companies they’re working on now:
Zach Weinberg and Nat Turner
After witnessing several family members and friends battle cancer, Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg founded Flatiron Health in 2012. Since then, the company has grown into a leader in cloud-based oncology software and employs over 275 people. Combined, the pair had already founded a number of companies throughout high school and college, including online ad tech company, Invite Media, which they sold to Google.
Jonah Peretti co-founded two major new media companies in New York City, including left-leaning blog Huffington Post and digital powerhouse BuzzFeed. Peretti launched The Huffington Post with Kenneth Lerer and Arianna Huffington in 2005, growing the company until it was bought by AOL for $315 million in 2011. In 2006, Peretti founded BuzzFeed, which caught the internet’s attention in a major way. Now, BuzzFeed has acquired six companies and set the precedent for many modern digital publications in its approach to creating viral content.
Expa, a startup studio that builds multiple companies in parallel, was founded by Garrett Camp in 2014. As a startup studio, Expa operates in the grey area between accelerators, incubators and venture capital funds, and works with founders to develop and launch new companies through a focus on product strategy, system design and user experience. Camp previously co-founded Uber in 2009 and StumbleUpon in 2002.
Dennis Crowley is the co-founder of Foursquare, the location technology that touts a suite of products used by more than 50 million people every month across 100 countries. While Foursquare has seen its ups and downs, the company recently raised a $45 million round, giving the company a valuation of $250 million. Previously, Crowley founded Dodgeball, one of the first mobile social services, which was acquired by Google in 2005.
In 2011, Brad Hargreaves co-founded General Assembly (GA), a technical development school that helps students bridge the gap between what they learn in college and what they need to know in the workforce. Since then, the company has created schools in 15 different cities and graduates 20,000 students per year, with 99 percent of those students scoring jobs in 90 days. While working at the helm of GA, Hargraves noticed that students filtering through the school needed more flexible housing options. To combat this, Hargreaves founded Common, a coliving company that ents out apartment buildings and sublets rooms in shared suites for a minimum of 90 days. In June the company raised a $16 million Series B and announced its plans to expand to San Francisco and Washington DC.
Talmon Marco is probably best known as the founder of Viber, a cross-platform instant messaging application that freely connects users around the world with each other. In 2015, Marco founded Juno, a ride-sharing app designed to put the well-being of its employed drivers first.
Dennis Mortensen is the CEO and co-founder of x.ai, an artificial intelligence startup that launched out of beta in October. Mortensen founded x.ai after selling his last venture, a predictive analytics company called Visual Revenue, to Outbrain in 2013.
In 2009, Jeffrey Raider founded Warby Parker, the popular direct-to-consumer e-commerce company that overhauled the glasses industry and became a tech unicorn. In 2012, Raider went on to create Harry’s Grooming, an e-commerce model with a similar approach, but with a mission to upend the business of men’s grooming. Harry’s now has over 2 million customers and is inching closer to unicorn status itself.
Kevin Ryan is one of the most successful serial entrepreneurs in New York City, having founded companies including Gilt Groupe, Business Insider, Zola Registry and MongoDB. He also helped build DoubleClick, one of New York tech’s original dot-com companies, in 1996-2005. Ryan grew DoubleClick from a 20-person startup to a full-fledged corporation with over 1,500 employees. The company was sold in 2005 for $1.1 billion to Hellman and Friedman LLC, and then later for $3.1 billion to Google in 2008.
A technology journalist through and through, Joshua Topolsky was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of technology news network The Verge and a co-founder of Vox Media before undertaking his most recent venture. In August, Topolsky launched ‘The Outline,’ a new publication that brands itself as a technology company that uses a mix of text, audio and video as storytelling mediums. Before founding The Outline, Vox Media and The Verge, Topolsky was the editor-in-chief of Engadget.