This isn’t an exclusive list, nor do I believe that my opinion on who’s “thriving” the most is that accurate, nor do I include everyone who I wish I could on this list. This list came about because in 2020 we’ve seen great tragedy firsthand, and have endured a fair amount of strife. Thus, I believe that there is a place to celebrate those who, despite a seemingly crumbling world, have continually taken this opportunity to grow and bring some positivity into the world. Further I’d like to add that I consider most of the people on this list to be a “friend”, this is biased, but I stand behind the value they’re trying to build
The 5 Thriving Entrepreneurs of 2020
There are literally thousands of entrepreneurs who are actively working to change the world in 2020. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or space to write about all of them! So, I’m going to look at 5 entrepreneurs that I’ve found to be particularly innovative, compassionate, and forward-thinking this year.
I want to start this list with someone I’ve known for about a year through social media, but only recently met in person: Casey Adams. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from Casey in numerous ways. He came from humble beginnings in Virginia before being diagnosed with what could have been a life-altering injury. Despite this challenge, Casey rose to become one of the most important young entrepreneurs of my generation. While this may seem like a biased promotion, here’s why I think what he’s done — and continues to do — is so important.
Casey is the “plug” for all things related to entrepreneurship. He’s the connection you make before meeting your next business partner; he’s the voice of our generation’s entrepreneurs who will paraphrase him after hearing his podcast. I can’t quite explain it without giving away private or confidential information, but the above circumstances should paint a picture of Casey Adams’ impact and success. Something we hear a lot in the tech world is that you should invest in the founder rather than the idea; Casey is the perfect example of this principle. Keep an eye out for him, as he becomes the entrepreneur world’s next godfather.
Next comes Josh Browder. I first met Josh through a mutual friend while in high school. In any case, Josh is the quintessential entrepreneur. When I met him, he was the exact “persona” I was looking to emulate; 49% dedicated student, 51% hustler who just wanted to change the world. At the time, Josh had built a robot lawyer that aimed to make the justice system fairer by providing an Artificial Intelligence solution that could “fight” your court cases for you.
The product has since evolved to basically be your all-in-one digital public defender. Whether it’s traffic tickets, robot callers, email spammers, or class-action lawsuits, DoNotPay has your back. I have a lot of admiration for Josh. He’s among a few young entrepreneurs fighting for your liberties with a fair, subscription model price. Keep an eye on him if you believe in providing affordable public representation through tech-based solutions!
Rahul (RJ) Jain
Next on my list is a fellow neighbor in Los Angeles. Rahul Jain, also known simply as RJ Jain, is the founder of Price.com and Appurify, which had a successful private exit to Google in 2014. RJ is a purpose-driven entrepreneur looking to solve issues as broad as “waste” through products like Price.com. Ideally, RJ wants to make “new product” issues and monetary inflation waste problems of the past.
Before you grab your pitchforks, I know what you’re thinking. “Okay, so he made a better version of Honey in which you probably have some vested interest, but why does he actually matter?” Well, to answer the question that you may or may not have asked, when I met RJ, the first thing I told him was that I don’t like associating with purposeless projects–companies who solely care about making as much money as possible–I only want to help with projects that do great things for the world. To my surprise, RJ painted a picture for me of a world where consumers have the ease of option: whether it’s taking a picture of an item to easily purchase it, or eliminating production waste by allowing consumers to easily compare new, used, refurbished, and renal products from different sites to provide sustainable choices, with the most savings on the internet.
The reason we remained friends is because we both have similar visions; we want to build products that make the world a better place while still being self sustaining, and that’s exactly what RJ has already started to do.
In addition to his other ventures, RJ is the executive producer of Kiss The Ground. The film focuses on educating consumers and farmers on the importance of agriculture as the long term solution to climate change. Take my word for it, he is another example of a founder who puts the benefit of humanity above personal gain.
Patrick Matamoros is “that guy” who will call you at 11 at night on a Thursday to discuss changing the world. He’s “that guy” who is connected to many A-list celebrities, yet never asks them for a favor. Patrick is also an artist and an entrepreneur at his core. This man knows more about music, vintage t-shirts, vinyl, and LA culture than anyone else in my circle of associates.
His calling? He’s among the most famous vintage t-shirt dealers on the planet for a reason. Under his brand Saint Luis–inspired by his son Joaquin de los Santos Luis Matamoros–Patrick deals to names like Rihanna, Kanye, Beyonce, and Benny Blanco.
There’s a perfection that comes with every article of clothing Patrick sells. While most vintage “dealers” and clothing designers care about selling as much as possible, Patrick cares most about finding a home for every individual piece. That is his true passion. He remembers every tee, and he will only sell you what looks good on you, what fits on you, and what you’ll actually want to wear. Patrick is a true artist and among the most inspiring, purpose-driven artists in Hollywood and NYC doing more than just making clothes.
Finally, we have Rob Reiner. No, not the famed Hollywood actor, comedian, and director. I’m talking about Rob Reiner, the founder of CropSwap. He’s yet another entrepreneur who puts the welfare of humanity above his desire for a nice paycheck. With CropSwap, consumers can connect with independent farmers and food cultivators in their community.
So, Rob is just making it easier for foodies to get “farm-to-table” meals? Not exactly. By making it easier and more “mainstream” to acquire food from local growers, Rob is helping support independent growers who struggle to compete against larger food conglomerates. This, in turn, is better for the health of the planet and the vitality of agricultural communities.
There you have it, the 5 thriving entrepreneurs of 2020! This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but it’s not meant to be. I don’t want to put out a boring list of all the entrepreneurs who are thriving this year. Instead, I want to highlight a few people who are making a real difference, even if their names aren’t appearing in the headlines. Hopefully, more entrepreneurs like these will follow in the years to come!