Yale junior, alumni make Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30’ list for their impact
Yale junior Shervin Dehmoubed, who started his first company selling children’s toys when he was just 15 and is now the cofounder and CEO of a sustainable packaging company called EcoPackables, is among the inventors, leaders, creatives, influencers, and trailblazers named to Forbes magazine’s annual “30 Under 30” list.
Seven Yale alumni are also on the list of 600 enterprising individuals under the age of 30 whose work is making an impact in a diverse range of fields.
Each year, Forbes selects up to 30 young innovators who are “on the verge of making it big” in one of 20 categories: entertainment; social media; education; finance; sports; venture capital; energy; art and style; enterprise technology; music; health care; manufacturing and industry; science; media; games; retail and e-commerce; food and drink; social impact; consumer technology; and marketing and advertising. The honorees were chosen from among thousands of nominees by a group of judges in a three-tier process that includes answering an in-depth questionnaire.
“The 600 who made the cut are both an inspiration and a challenge to the conventional wisdom,” Forbes’ editors wrote of this year’s honorees, noting that they are tackling problems and issues such as global warming, reproductive health, and student debt. They were evaluated on factors including impact, inventiveness, and potential.
Dehmoubed was honored in the “Manufacturing and Industry” category for his company EcoPackables, which uses only recyclable or compostable materials for its packaging and “has prevented more than 12.5 million plastic polybags and pouches from ending up in landfills this year alone,” said Forbes. The company has partnerships with such major retailers as L.L. Bean, Revolve, and Ted Baker.
Dehmoubed, who is studying economics at Yale and is a member of the varsity men’s tennis team, had previously created a pickleball clothing and accessory line. But he was troubled by his company’s environmental impact because it packaged and shipped items in traditional plastic mailers that would ultimately end up in landfills.
His new company, EcoPackables, which is based in San Diego, makes mailers that biodegrade fully in less than 180 days. The project earned Dehmoubed the first-ever Yale Innovator’s Prize and the Yale Center for Business and the Environment’s Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize.
Two of the alumni honorees just graduated from Yale last spring. Malena Rice ’22 Ph.D., an astronomer who will join the Yale faculty as an assistant professor in 2023, was honored in the “Science” category for developing a machine-learning algorithm designed to search for the most distant objects in the solar system by combining images from NASA’s TESS satellite. And Yale College graduate Gabriel Saruhashi ’22 was chosen in the “Social Impact” category for the New Haven-based Ameelio, a technology nonprofit that builds software to help incarcerated people better, and more cheaply, connect with their loved ones outside of prison. Rice is currently a postdoctoral fellow at MIT.
Other alumni winners are Nikhil Patel ’21, who was selected in the “Healthcare” category as the co-founder of Craniometrix, which is developing an easy-to-use test for Alzheimer’s disease that can be taken on a Smartphone; and David McCullough III ’17, who was recognized in the “Education” category for his work as co-founder of the Boston-based nonprofit The American Exchange Project, which sends high school students on week-long trips to promote understanding and reduce polarization. In addition, Clarey Zhu ’16 was honored in the “Venture Capital” category for her work as a partner at the San Francisco-based company TCV, where she facilitated the company’s expansion into China and Latin America and helped deploy more than $1.3 billion across investments including ByteDance, LegalZoom, and Nubank. Lukas Czinger ’15 was recognized in the “Manufacturing and Industry” category as the co-founder and senior vice president of the Los Angeles-based Czinger Vehicles and Divergent 3D. Czinger Vehicles is preparing to build the Czinger 21C, a hybrid sports car that was developed using artificial intelligence and 3D printing. And Colin Devine ’18 M.A., co-founder and chief operating officer of BotBuilt, was recognized in the “Manufacturing & Industry” category. Based in North Carolina, BotBuilt is a robotic technology company that aims to automate the entire process of building a home, using its proprietary software to translate a builder's architectural plans into robot commands.
Others on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list include such notables as model and entrepreneur Hailey Bieber, actress and comedian Ayo Edbiri, and basketball player Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers.
This is a complete list of Yale-affiliated Forbes honorees to the best of our knowledge. If you know of someone on the list we missed, let us know! (Editor's note: the story was updated on Dec. 22.)