Writer and director Damien Chazelle first gained recognition for his 2014 film Whiplash, receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. The reason he’s worth paying attention to, though, is for his latest project, La La Land – pretty much the first original Hollywood musical to hit the silver screen since the Singing in the Rain days. That’s a big deal. It’s the perfect escapist film for an audience looking for hope in trying times, conveying a feeling of warm nostalgia while also bringing something new to the genre. Chazelle and his film’s stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are already garnering praise for their work, with La La Land receiving seven Academy Award nominations. If Chazelle wins Best Director, he’ll be the youngest ever to do so at just 32.
Virtual reality is the future form of consuming media – and Carissa Flocken knows it. She and cofounder Ben Doyle started their company, Entry Point VR, as a response to the new technology and the challenges it faces. Since VR videos are usually only available through expensive, cumbersome apps or passive web players, Entry Point VR is determined to make the technology more accessible by helping clients create interactive VR videos that can be viewed on everything from smartphones to TV screens, all through a simple URL. Flocken might not be well-known yet, but her company and its technological breakthroughs are sure to help shape the future of how we view content.
Ah, the internet. We can watch weird cat videos, share what we ate for lunch and instantly find out what year Forrest Gump came out, all at the touch of a screen. If the internet can do all this, why not use it for accessible education? That was the motivation behind Open Classrooms, a project started by a group of not-quite-teenage French boys in 1999. Pierre Dubuc and his partner in crime Mathieu Nebra were able to turn their idea into a company in 2007. The site now has over one million users and offers more than 1,000 different courses in IT, technology and entrepreneurship. Dubuc’s goal of making education available to anyone who wants it has become a reality: the French president himself has endorsed the ed tech site as a legitimate tool for job seekers.
Follow him on Twitter @p_dubuc
Like many of the inspiring people on our list, Bulgarian entrepreneur Ekaterina Karabasheva saw a problem in the world and found a solution through technology. Her experience as an anorexia patient motivated her to create an app, Jourvie, that strives to help people overcome eating disorders. The Berlin-based startup is more than a nice idea: it implements tools recommended by health professionals, like keeping a food diary, while providing encouragement and inspiration from peers and facilitating communication with therapists.
Follow Ekaterina Karabasheva on Twitter @KetiSchwarzkopf
Journalism – and its shortcomings – has become a huge topic over the course of the last few years. Ernst-Jan Pfauth decided to do something about it by co-founding a news source that operates differently than mainstream media: De Correspondent. The Dutch-language website, like many young and promising undertakings, was kicked off in 2013 with a record-setting crowdfunding campaign. Completely ad free, De Correspondent focuses on depth and context in their pieces and reports on topics that mainstream news sources tend to neglect. Pfauth has meanwhile become a powerful new voice for alternative journalism, constantly sharing his insights about where the industry is headed.
Maggie Rogers’ sudden rise in the music industry started with a viral video of Pharrell Williams being moved close to tears by her song “Alaska”. Her effortless fusion of electronic dance music and folk singer/songwriter lyrics is exciting because, as Pharrell himself said, she’s “doing her own thing” – creating something we’ve never heard before. She has since come out with a music video for “Alaska” as well as “Dog Years”, and has booked sold-out concerts for her tour this year. We can’t wait to hear her album due out sometime in 2017.
Visit her website at maggierogers.com
Pop-up stores are the way of the future. When Ross Bailey opened one a few years ago, he quickly realised that getting rental space for a short period of time was a modern necessity that didn’t exist yet – and thus started the hugely successful Appear Here. Bailey’s online market space connects landlords with companies looking to set up pop-up shops, making the once impossible task a lot like booking a hotel. Important names like Google, Apple and Moleskine – along with 55,000 other brands – have signed up to use the service. Bailey has basically revolutionised the retail and real estate industries with one brilliant idea. We’ll be hearing his name more often…
Alexandra Clark loves chocolate. Loves. It. After earning a Master’s degree in New Zealand, she brought her new skills as a chocolatier back home to Detroit, opening her own gourmet chocolate boutique called Bon Bon Bon. It might seem a bit out of place, but Clark wanted to share her artistic mini treats with her community in the Motor City, and hasn’t looked back since. From the Rosie the Riveter uniform Clark wears to the practical packaging that her delicious chocolates come in, her steadily growing company embodies the city in which it thrives. Bon Bon Bon constantly rotates its menu of treats (with quirky names like Sweet Potato Casserole), offering up classic tastes along with the peculiar. Clark’s lesson to entrepreneurs looking to start a company: be sure to help support, be a part of and find a place in your community.
We’re told that planting trees and other greenery can help reduce the harmful effects of air pollution, but since the world revolves around money, it’s hard to convince companies to invest in green city projects. That’s where Dénes Honus and his Dresden-based company Green City Solutions step in. They’ve created CityTree, which is basically an advertising billboard that has the same air-purifying effect as up to 275 trees. The CityTree is made up of over 1,600 plants in a vertical garden that can be formed into a corporate logo – a pretty eye-catching ad. These self-sustaining micro-ecosystems absorb about 30 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year and cost less money and space than planting trees. We can’t wait to hear what ideas Honus and Green City Solutions come up with next.
Thanks to her involvement as cofounder of Tinder, Whitney Wolfe had already made a name for herself in the dating-app world when she founded an even more revolutionary app: Bumble. Realising the harassment problem many women face on dating websites and apps, Wolfe founded Bumble as a dating tool with a very important difference: female users always make the first contact with male users through the app, a notion that many find refreshing and empowering in the ever-growing online dating community. Bumble is already a huge success, making us wonder what Wolfe will wow us with next.
When we hear the word “drone” these days, we often think either of war-waging machines or Amazon’s promised delivery system of the future. Keller Rinaundo, however, saw humanitarian potential in this relatively new technology. The company he founded, Zipline, is currently partnered with the Rwandan government to fly crucial medical supplies, like blood, to parts of the country that are hard to reach. These drones can deliver within 30 minutes what used to take several hours, making deliveries that help save lives. Rinaundo and his company have only just begun work that is sure to bring a revolution to medical services around the globe. After all, if the future is all about drones, they should be used to make the world a better place.
When it comes to beer, Belgium is the unofficial capital of the world, which makes opening a new brewery there a bold move. For Anne-Cathérine Dilewyns and her family, though, the venture has paid off handsomely. Still in her twenties, Dilewyns is one of the youngest brewers in the country and a rising star in the brewing industry. She is the brewmaster at Vicaris Brewery, which has won an honoured place among top Belgian brews since starting up in 2011.
Follow Vicaris on Twitter @Vicaris_Belgium
Adam and Ryan Goldston
For identical twin brothers Adam and Ryan, the buzz around their names started in 2010 with their company Athletic Propulsion Labs. That year, APL had just introduced their new Concept 1 basketball shoe with revolutionary Load N’ Launch Technology – a shoe that helps athletes jump higher. In fact, these kicks were so good that they were the first shoes ever to be banned by the NBA – and thus, the Goldston brothers’ fame was sealed. The duo are currently focused on their Windchill running shoe line, which they say helped elite runners shave off an average of nine seconds on their mile times during initial tests. The stylish APL shoes are also being warn by celebreties, making them both a fashion statement and some of the best performance shoes on the market. The Goldstons are the real deal – they’re shaking up the sporting world and helping athletes improve in ways never seen before.
It’s hard to distinguish oneself in the fashion industry, so the fact that a Sadie Williams piece can be immediately picked out in a lineup is a tribute to her creativity. Williams has already worked with such names as Marc Jacobs, J.W. Anderson and Katie Hillier since graduating from CSM MA fashion course in 2013. The reason this UK designer is turning heads is due to her talent for textiles and prints, developing a signature use of metallic and bold colour in her collections. Judging by the futuristic look of her clothes, she’s destined for the stars.
Visit her website at sadiewilliams.co.uk
Young M.A. was tapped as the next super star rapper after her hit single “OOOUUU” made the top of the charts this past year, even getting some love from Beyoncé. She doesn’t like being labelled – which is why she doesn’t want to be called an “LGBT rapper” or a “female rapper” – but the fact that Young M.A. is a gay woman coming up hot in the industry is a big deal. The Brooklyn rapper hasn’t signed with a major label and seems to be keen on staying independent for the time being, so keep an eye on her – she has a full and colourful career ahead of her.
Visit her website at youngmamusic.com
While studying art in college, Awol Erizku was concerned with the absence of black representation he had noticed in art museums. This inspired the work that has made his name a buzzword in the art world, starting with his first solo show, “Black and Gold”. Erizku reimagined masterpieces of art history with modern freshness and, most importantly, African American subjects. The NYC native artist continues to reflect on African American culture with pieces that invoke pop culture references and minimalism with universal themes, presenting viewers with the world they live in – and challenging them to look deeper.
Check out Erizku’s work at awolerizku.com
Article by Gail Wilcoxen