Last Tuesday, Forbes released its sixth annual “30 Under 30” list made up of 600 entrepreneurs and leaders who are disrupting the ordinary, innovating new solutions, and inspiring change.
The list recognizes 30 leaders, each under 30 years old, across 20 different industries who are “challenging the conventional wisdom and rewriting the rules for the next generation,” according to Forbes.
This year’s list is made up of recognizable names like YouTube star Tyler Oakley, White House Strategic Communications Director Hope Hicks, and Olympian Michael Phelps. Also recognized are hundreds of entrepreneurs working tirelessly to make a difference in Energy, Healthcare, Science, and more.
Sieva Kozinsky, CEO of Studysoup, is one of 30 “edu-preneurs” featured in the Education category. StudySoup is an online peer-to-peer marketplace that connects top students with those looking for a little extra help in the classroom.
Becoming a part of this list is no easy feat. This year, more than 15,000 submissions were made with only 600 earning the distinction.
Today, StudySoup works with a community of more than 500,000 students across more than 150 schools. But a few short years ago, it was just an idea formed by Kozinsky and his cofounder Jeff Silverman when both were still students themselves at University of California, Santa Barbara. Both quickly became passionate about the project and began seeking out financial help to turn their idea into a reality. One of the first places to offer that support was Hebrew Free Loan, a nonprofit organization which provides interest-free loans to help Jewish residents of Northern California overcome financial challenges and achieve their dreams.
“Hebrew Free Loan believed in us before we even had any customers. At that point, no bank or investor would talk to us, and we needed a little bit of money just to get off the ground,” said Kozinsky. “Hebrew Free Loan took a risk with us and allowed us to realize our dream. Their loan gave us the funds we needed to build out the product and get some customers on board, which then opened the door to our $2M in investment. Without Hebrew Free Loan, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Hebrew Free Loan’s Executive Director, Cindy Rogoway, remembers how Kozinsky left a strong impression on the agency. “From the first time I met Sieva, I was impressed with his passion, drive, and energy. He and Jeff had not only identified an issue in the higher education system that needed addressing, but developed both a workable solution and a promising business model. It was clear to our Business Loan Committee that through sheer will and determination, along with an enormous amount of talent, they were going to make this company thrive.
Hebrew Free Loan is proud to have helped Sieva launch StudySoup. This is the heart of our work – supporting entrepreneurs at the early stages, when it’s typically difficult to obtain funding through traditional sources such as banks or investors. We’re delighted to see the traction that StudySoup has achieved at colleges and universities across the country.”
Check out the full list of “30 Under 30” at www.forbes.com/30under30.
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