2013 Innovators to Watch: 21 to 25

  • Philip Ryan
  • June 13, 2013
  • 1

alexavontobel_12021. Alexa von Tobel, CEO and founder, LearnVest
Alexa von Tobel dropped out of Harvard Business School in the unpromising year 2008 to start LearnVest because she was disturbed that so many accomplished women didn’t have a handle on their financial lives. LearnVest offers advice to all comers from certified financial planners. Von Tobel got her CFP credentials not long ago and began taking calls from clients right away. LearnVest walks the line between wealth management and PFM and the startup’s future is promising, with a user base of a few hundred thousand. Even more promising is von Tobel’s own career. She is something of a cross-over star, having appeared widely in print and on television. “Clearly she should have her own television show,” said Cosmopolitan editor Joann Coles.

Eric_Connors_12022. Eric Connors, Senior Vice President of Products, Yodlee
Yodlee practically invented online banking back in the late 90s and continues to push the envelope today under the direction of Eric Connors. Providing a platform for players such as Citibank, PayPal, USAA, PNC Bank and HSBC, Yodlee is at the center of a good chunk of financial innovation. The company runs an accelerator for startups and, under Connors, offers a leading mobile platform as well.

bobsteen_12023. Bob Steen, Bridge, CEO, Bridge Community Bank
Bob Steen noticed his customers were concerned about the security of their accounts and took a radical step. His bank, a small FI located in the Silicon Prairie, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, became the first in the country to announce that it would offer biometric security. It was the $75 million dollar bank’s move to mobile that prompted both customer concerns and Steen’s response. Is biometric security the wave of the future for mobile banking? Maybe, maybe not, but this community banker isn’t sitting back on his heels waiting to find out.

davidhornik_12024. David Hornik, General Partner, August Capital
David Hornik is an intellectual property attorney and lectures at Harvard Law School on venture capital and entrepreneurship. His past investments include DoneRight (acquired by LendingTree), Evite (acquired by Ticketmaster), and  PayCycle (acquired by Intuit). He is currently an investor in Bill.com, WePay, and PayNearMe. In other words, listen when he tells you something, kids.

peterthiel_12025. Peter Thiel, Partner, Founders Fund
Peter Thiel was a co-founder of PayPal — which would be enough to get him on this list. But PayPal is more than just a payments company; it has spawned what is known as the PayPal Mafia, an army of entrepreneurs and technologists that seemingly can be found in every fintech startup in recent memory. Think of Thiel as the PayPal Mafia’s don. He is now a partner in the Founders Fund, along with his PayPal co-founders. The Fund was the first outside investor in Facebook, and now has investments across various industries, from healthcare to energy. Current investments include ride-sharing company Lyft; Rapleaf, an email data organization; and Topsy, a social analytics tool. Kiss the ring, people.

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Philip Ryan is Associate Editor of Bank Innovation. He worked as a web developer for the Fund for the City of New York for six years, and was an HTML developer at Ocean-7 Development back in the go-go ’90s. He has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism. He can be reached at pryanrmg1@gmail.com.

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