25 Inspiring Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2017

Article by Drew Hendricks | Found on INC.COM

Every year I like to look for those amazing stories of entrepreneurs and companies that everyone should be watching. These are entrepreneurs that are changing the world for the better.

Keep an eye out this upcoming year for the esteemed entrepreneurs on this list who are making their mark as business owners, thought leaders, speakers, and authors alike as the top entrepreneurs to watch in 2017.

1. Shradha Agarwal

Shradha co-started Context Media with a goal to help patients with chronic diseases better manage their health. She is now reaching more that 6+ million patients a month. Agarwal was honored as a Champion of Change by the White House, recognized as Best Female Founder at the United Nations, and won a Moxie Award as Tech Woman of the Year in Chicago.

2. Anthony Smith

Anthony is Founder and CEO of Insightly, a San Francisco-based company that provides customer relationship management (CRM) cloud-based software to more than 1.2 million customers in 200 countries. After identifying a market need for a CRM solution for small businesses, Anthony built the first version of Insightly himself, using his previous experience of designing, constructing, and implementing CRM software for enterprises.

3. Kayla Sanders

Sanders is the founder and CEO of Remy, a cloud-based solution that automates and streamlines the management of regulatory and compliance related activities for health insurance providers. They were recently deemed one of the 15 hottest New York City Startups to watch by Business Insider. Sanders is also a board member of Determined Health Alliance, a youth-focused nonprofit with a mission to build healthier communities and brighter futures.

4. Neil Patel

Neil Patel is an internet marketer and conversion expert, best known as the founder ofCrazy Egg, Quick Sprout, and KISSMetrics. Recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama, Patel is also a regular, respected contributor for publications such as Inc., Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur.com and TechCrunch.

5. Adrian Nazari

Adrian is founder and CEO of Credit Sesame, which helps consumers better manage their financial health. Nazari is a pioneer in liabilities management and as an acknowledged industry expert, has appeared on CBS News, ABC News and was a key speaker at financial services innovation event Money 2020. Prior to Credit Sesame, Adrian was founder and CEO of Financial Crossing & Financial Circuit, developing liability solutions for banks. Adrian holds a BSEE, and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was a Sloan Fellow.

6. Brittany Hodak

Hodak is the co-Founder of Zinepak, a company that specializes in creating custom, interactive publications for superfans. Brittany has received countless awards ranging from Billboard’s “30 under 30” to Empact’s “Most Disruptive Company at the United Nations”. She is also the co-Founder of Per Diems Against Poverty, a nonprofit that reallocates donated per diems to Americans struggling with food insecurity.

7. Murray Newlands

Murray is an entrepreneur, investor, business advisor, speaker and TV host. Murray Newlands is founder of online invoicing company Sighted. Murray motivates millions through social media and his motivational app. Murray was ranked #2 as on 21 Thought Leaders Every Entrepreneur Should Follow by Inc Magazine.

8. Landon Ray

Landon is the Founder of Ontraport, an award winning web-based sales, marketing and business automation software platform designed to help entrepreneurs and small businesses. Ontraport has been listed on Forbes’ Most Promising Companies in America and was ranked #102 on the Inc500. He and his team are consistent innovators that have implemented everything from unlimited paid time off for employees to developing new products for small businesses like Ontrapages.

9. Pejman Ghadimi

Pejman is a self-made multi millionaire, serial entrepreneur, best-selling book author and currently the CEO and Founder of Secret Entourage. The platform was started in 2009 to help bring together some of today’s greatest and brightest CEO’s, business owners and innovators in an attempt to help bridge the gap between formal and self-education by providing current, relevant, as well as affordable coaching and mentorship. Secret Entourage presently is home to over 280 accredited entrepreneurs covering more than 100 industries, over 30,000 students and reaches millions through social media.

10. Richard Lorenzen

Richard Lorenzen is the 24 year old founder and CEO of NYC public relations firm Fifth Avenue Brands. Richard became well-known for having founded his company at only 15 years old. LinkedIn named him one of the top millennial influencers of 2016 and Entrepreneur Magazine ranked him as one of the top 50 people in digital marketing. Richard released his book Surge: Supercharge Your Life, Business & Legacy in October detailing how he built his company from a young age. He now spends significant time speaking about entrepreneurship and empowering young entrepreneurs.

11. Grant Cardone

The New York Times best-selling author and motivational speaker Grant Cardone runsCardone University and has become a largely popular social media influencer. Author of 5 books, Cardone also hosts 4 radio shows focused on helping others find jobs, make money, and improving their business. One of Cardone’s greatest successes is his investment company Cardone Acquisitions, which has bought and sold more than $500 million of real estate.

12. John Hall

Hall is looked at as an influencer of influencers. His company Influence & Co helps businesses and leaders use content to build industry influence and authority. Inc. has called John “one of the most powerful people in media who you’ve never met”, and he is one of the most sought-after leadership, sales, and marketing speakers. His new book, “Top of Mind”, will be a must-read for company leaders in 2017.

13. Hope Horner

Hope Horner is the CEO of Lemonlight. She is a three-time entrepreneur who grew up in the backwoods of Tennessee. She has been featured in Inc., KABC, Extra!, and other publications highlighting her successes in the Silicon Beach community during the past decade. She is currently the CEO of Lemonlight, an LA-based video production company that produces and distributes branded video content at scale.

14. Roger Bryan

Roger Bryan is a serial entrepreneur who runs a successful e-commerce business, and a marketing agency. His current venture, Enfusen, named a Top 10 Tool Entrepreneurs Can Use to Automate Their Business, is a machine learning analytics platform that helps digital marketing agencies drive increased traffic and conversion for their clients. Bryan was invited to White House in 2012 as one of the most Influential Young Entrepreneurs in America, and was named a Top Entrepreneur to Watch in 2016 by Inc.

15. John Lemp

John Lemp is an entrepreneur known for building multi-million dollar companies from the ground up, and a visionary with goals of revolutionizing the way the world consumes content online. As founder and CEO, John has grown his latest company, Revcontent, into the world’s fastest growing content recommendation network, powering over 250 billion content recommendations a month and reaching 90% of the United States, according to Quantcast.

16. Russ Ruffino

Founder and creator of Clients on Demand , Russ Ruffino has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs around the globe sell millions of dollars worth of their products and services. Ruffino focused all his energy on discovering the best ways to market online and launch products and services, and earned $250,000 in just 5 months by selling video courses. His massive success has allowed him to be one of the most respected business coaches in the industry.

17. Chalmers Brown

Young Tech Entrepreneur Chalmers Brown is Co-Founder and CTO of Due. He is helping millions of businesses send and receive payments online. Chalmers uses a combination of patented blockchain technology and partnerships with industry leaders to create the most competitive payment solutions in the market. Was named a top CTO to watch in 2016 by Entrepreneur Magazine.

18. JT O’donnell

J.T. O’Donnell founded Careelism, now Work It Daily. She is of the most influential women on Linkedin and was a very early contributor to their influencer program. O’Donnell is a career strategist and workplace consultant who helps American employees of all ages find greater professional satisfaction. O’Donnell’s work has been cited in many national publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and many more.

19. Ramon Ray

Personal branding expert Ramon Ray is the editor and founder of Smart Hustle magazine, which celebrates the success and showcases the challenges of the hustle. With over 20 years of experience, Ramon is a four-time entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaks globally on the ins-and-outs of guerilla marketing and personal branding.

20. Chirag Kulkarni

Chirag Kulkarni is the co-founder and CEO of Insightfully, a 24/7 employee that manages your network, and was named one of the top startups to watch at CIMC2015. Kulkarni is a frequent blogger, and speaks about corporations all over the world from Infosys, Accenture, IIT-Bombay, and MIT on digital marketing and entrepreneurship.

21. Elise Mitchell

Elise has helped build Mitchell into one of the top-10 fastest-growing firms globally and has twice been named Agency of the Year by PRWeek and The Holmes Report. She has received numerous awards, including being named PRWeek Agency Public Relations Professional of the Year and a Top 50 Power Player in PR. Elise’s upcoming book, “Leading Through the Turn”, is available for pre-order and will be downloadable starting in January.

22. Jonathan Long

Jonathan Long is the co-founder the Sexy Smile Kit, a home teeth whitening kit, and is the CEO of Market Domination Media, an online marketing agency that specializes in search engine optimization and online marketing consulting. Long is currently working on a book with a major publisher, and is an esteemed writer for publications including Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, and Business Insider.

23. Andrey Kudievskiy 

Founder and CEO at Distillery, a full-service software design and development company, Andrey Kudievskiy is a serial entrepreneur who started his career in tech at the age of 19. Creating a successful cloud synchronization startup which was sold to a Fortune 500 company, Andrey is a skilled dev in his own right. He has spent the last ten years working in the U.S. and internationally to assist companies worldwide in delivering their products and services.

24. Lee Rhodes

Rhodes is the founder of Glassybaby, which primarily produces a handmade glass votive, also known as a “glassybaby.”. The company — which counts Jeff Bezos and Laurene Powell Jobs among its investors — donates money from sales to various charities, most notably to organizations that assist cancer patients with costs during chemotherapy. Glassbaby has given away more than $6 million to more than 400 charitable organizations to-date. In the past, Rhodes was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Entrepreneur.

25. Daniel Macklin

Daniel Macklin is the Co-Founder of SoFi, a revolutionary finance company that is disrupting the lending and wealth management industry. The SoFi community works to empower its members to accomplish financial and life goals that they set by providing financial literacy, tools, and mentoring along the way. To date, Sofi has raised $1.38 Billion. Prior to that he was a Sloan Fellow where he garnered a Masters of Science in Management Degree in one year.


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