Five Irishmen make Forbes 30 under 30 list

8 Jan 2014

Pictured: brothers Patrick and John Collison

Five Irishmen have made the exclusive Forbes 30 under 30 list for 2014. They include software entrepreneurs John and Patrick Collison, golfer Rory McIlroy, video games designer Terry Cavanagh and singer Niall Horan from One Direction.

The exclusive listing includes Snapchat co-founder Eric Spiegel (22), actress and social entrepreneur Olivia Wilde (29), Malala Fund co-founder Shiza Shahid (24), musician Bruno Mars (28), tennis player Maria Sharapova( 26) and Oculus VR CEO Palmer Luckey (21).

Limerick brothers Patrick (25) and John Collison (23) sold their first company Auctomatic to Canadian firm Live Current Media for US$5m (€3.2m) when they were 17 and 19, respectively. Now residents in Silicon Valley, their two-year-old start-up Stripe is beginning to make headway in the e-commerce space, and is now live in the US, UK and Ireland.

The company, which employs 62 people, raised its first round of funding of US$2m in 2011 from investment veterans Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. Further funding of US$18m followed in 2012 by Sequoia Capital, valuing Stripe at US$100m at the time.

Terry Cavanagh (29), is director of Distractionware Ltd and is a prolific games designer, including experimental games like VVVVVV and At A Distance. His 2012 release Super Hexagon, an addictive arcade-style action game, was a finalist for the Best Design award at the Independent Games Festival, audience choice winner at Fantastic Arcade, and a finalist for Game of the Year on Apple’s App Store.

Golfer Rory McIlroy (24) needs little introdution. According to Forbes, since early 2013, he’s landed sponsorships with Nike, Bose and Swiss watch maker Omega. “Even in a down year, he’s a face of the sport.”

All five members of One Direction, including Mullingar native Niall Horan (20) made the list for being the world’s biggest boy band, en route to US$42m in earnings over the last year as their tour earns US$1m per city.

Last year’s Forbes 30 under 30 listing included the Collison brothers, CoderDojo founder James Whelton and GroupM executive Jonathan Cloonan.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years