Meet the Philadelphians on Forbes 30 Under 30 List for 2019

The young honorees are being recognized for big accomplishments across industries like media, energy, healthcare, and finance.

The Kitu Life founders on Shark Tank. Sunniva Super Coffee rebranded as Kitu Life in September. Courtesy photo.

Forbes honored a new group of 600 young innovators and entrepreneurs last week with the release of its 2019 30 Under 30 class. The highly anticipated list recognizes 30 different young people in 20 different categories, including sciences, consumer technologies, arts, sports, and food.

According to Forbes, this year’s class was selected from nearly 15,000 online submissions, which corresponds to a four percent acceptance rate. Of those selected, Forbes reported that 19 percent are immigrants, 38 percent identify as first-generation citizens, and over half the list are founders or co-founders of their own companies.

Among these diverse change-makers, a handful of people who live and/or recently studied in the Philadelphia region made the list. Here are their Forbes profiles broken down by category:

Food and Drink

Kitu Life founders Jim, Jake and Jordan DeCicco
Attended the former Philadelphia University

“Tired of unhealthy bottled energy drinks, Jim, Jake, and Jordan DeCicco created Kitu in Jordan’s Philadelphia University dorm room. Inspired by the ketogenic diet, they brew organic Colombian coffee blended with lactose-free protein and MCT oil from coconuts instead of milk and sugar. With only 80 calories and zero sugar, Super Coffee worked so well for the brothers that that Jim left his career on Wall Street and Jordan dropped out of school, forfeiting his full scholarship, to accept the Peter Thiel Fellowship. The DeCicco brothers were featured on ABC’s Shark Tank in February, and their Super Coffee and line of creamers are distributed in chains like Wegmans, Whole Foods and Fairway. With $5 million in funding, they saw about $1 million in revenue last year.”

Enterprise Technology

Lauren Smith
Philadelphia resident

“If you call an Uber, geotag a Tweet, or match with someone on Tinder, you’re probably using Foursquare. Originally hired as a right-hand doer and thought partner to CEO Jeff Glueck and now heading up Strategy for the company-at-large, Smith’s role is finding the gaps and opportunities in the business, and ensure the company executes against those ambitions. Since the Yale grad joined in 2014, the company has grown to ~2x the team size, earning ~4x the revenue and leveraging ~15x the data assets.”


Proscia founders David West, Nathan Buchbinder, Coleman Stavish
Philadelphia residents

“David West and Nathan Buchbinder, two students at Johns Hopkins, joined up with West’s friend since kindergarten, Coleman Stavish, to start a company that uses artificial intelligence to speed up pathology tests for cancer patients. They’ve raised $10.4 million from investors including Flybridge Capital, Robin Hood Ventures and Fusion Fund.”


Charlie Javice
Attended University of Pennsylvania

“Frank’s software aims to make the application process for student loans faster and easier. Javice founded the 15-person startup in 2016. She has since raised $16 million, and Frank has helped 300,000 users apply for financial aid.”

Peter Maa
Attended University of Pennsylvania

“Most senior macroeconomic researcher at $9.5 billion in assets PointState Capital, where he oversees the firm’s fundamental discretionary macro research. Also is building the firm’s in-house data science team, helping to manage a team of analysts. Reports to founder Zachary Schreiber.”

Becky Painter
Attended Swarthmore College

“Portfolio manager of Fidelity’s Select Leisure Fund, which has $470 million of assets. Also an analyst on Fidelity’s Consumer Team, covering large cap restaurants, hotels, casinos, online travel agents, and other “leisure” stocks. Has been a part of Fidelity’s “honor roll” list for analysts every year since joining the firm.”

Anish Pathipati
Attended University of Pennsylvania

“Most senior investment professional at buyout legend Glenn Hutchins’ new investment firm. Managing a $900 million investment in Virtu and a big crypto portfolio. Previously worked at Silver Lake and Brave Warrior, where he led $300 million investment in HCA.”

Jordan Zarrilli
Attended University of Pennsylvania

“Runs financials equity derivatives trading at Goldman, overseeing risk on the derivatives desk for financials and consumer companies. Previously worked for four years as an equities derivatives trader at UBS.”

Law and Policy

Emerson Brooking
Attended University of Pennsylvania

“Former Council on Foreign Relations fellow Emerson Brooking’s debut book LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media (about just that) made The New York Times’ New & Noteworthy list, Amazon’s Best Seller list and was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month. Brooking’s expertise on the matter has made him a leading cyber warfare pundit.”

Olivia Ensign
Attended Swarthmore College

“A descendant of slaves and product of the great migration, Olivia Ensign is an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Capital Punishment Project fighting systemic racism in capital-punishment. She represents death-row clients in the appeals and post-conviction levels across the southern United States.”

Manufacturing and Industry

Ryan Knopf
Attended University of Pennsylvania

“Ryan Knopf cofounded Root AI, which develops intelligent robotic systems to harvest fruits and vegetables in indoor farms and has raised $2.3 million from investors. The company’s first product is a mobile robot that can pick tomatoes and assess their health. It is now testing its robot prototypes in six indoor farms across the United States and Canada.”


Justin R. Ching
Attended University of Pennsylvania

“Justin R. Ching, who began his career with YouTube Originals, helping launch channels like VICE, has produced shows for Fox and Amazon, most recently the NFL docuseries “Ritual,” and he has an Asian-American docuseries in the works for Food Network. Through his production company, j-school, he aims to empower underrepresented groups to tell their own stories.”


Seth Neele
Philadelphia resident

“With a doctorate in statistics and machine learning from Penn, Neel and his team apply A.I. to public data on Latin American oilfields to produce production forecasts. Early clients include oil supermajors and private equity firms.”