Every year vSpring Capital releases the Utah v|100 list, a list of 100 aspiring entrepreneurs and tech professionals who are likely to have success in the next 5 years within the technology industry. I’ve been on the list twice as a winner, and I’ve been nominated again this year. While this is a very humbling experience, I want to be sure others have the opportunity to also be on the list. I decided this year I want to come up with and vote for 10 people that have never been on the list before.
The task of finding others who have not previously been on the list has proven to be a much harder task than I thought. However, I think I found 10 that I can really stand behind – my hope is that, if you’ve been nominated, you can consider these (I won’t be offended if you do not choose me this year), and if you haven’t, hopefully this will give you a list of a few new sites, services, and people to look out for in the coming years, whether you’re in Utah or out. Despite never having been on the list before, these are some of Utah’s finest tech professionals and entrepreneurs (in no particular order) – chances are most of these never even asked to be on this list (and some have never even met me):
- Allan Carroll, CTO, Piick.com – Allan is former CTO of FamilyLink and helped them get to one of the top positions in the Facebook Application directory. He’s one of the top Facebook application developers I know, and he even helped do the technical editing for my new book, Facebook Application Development For Dummies.
Allan is now in his own startup, I believe as co-founder, this time starting a new, up-and-coming social commerce company called Piick. I’ve seen a preview and I admit it’s pretty cool. In or out of Piick, I expect to see big things for Allan in the future. I’m a sucker for entrepreneur developers and Allan’s one of the best.
He is @allanca on Twitter.
- Joel Dehlin, CIO, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – I don’t just say this because Joel’s my boss. Joel’s a long-time friend for several years before I started working for the LDS Church. I’ve been following his efforts for years now and was quite surprised he had not yet been nominated for the v|100 list.
Not to discredit the hard work of many others before him and that have worked with him, but Joel has practically revolutionized much of the technology and web efforts of the Church in his time there. Some results of his leadership include the new LDS.org design, the new Mormon.org, and he is the reason for me working for the Church and some of the Church’s turn towards social (not to discredit others that have also been involved in that effort, of course).
Joel has also been a strong leader in a huge new volunteer effort within the IT talent of the Church at tech.lds.org, resulting in a yearly conference of hundreds of volunteers that collaborate to work on the Church’s IT projects. As a result of that, the majority of the Church’s mobile apps have been developed by volunteers, and many other technologies have also resulted from this volunteer effort. Oh, did I mention he was on both the PocketPC and Surface teams at Microsoft?
Joel is @joeldehlin on Twitter.
- Tyler Bye, Owner, Protoven – I became familiar with Protoven with some of their mobile work that they’ve done at a few places I’ve worked. I admit I don’t know Tyler personally, but I certainly know his company. If any of you have ever downloaded the ABC app for iPad or iPhone, you have downloaded their work. They make beautiful iOS and mobile apps, and Tyler deserves a lot of credit for what his company has done in this area. This company deserves much more attention.
Follow Tyler at @tbye on Twitter.
- Ed Orcutt, Principal, Los Lobos LLC – I’ve been extremely impressed with Ed Orcutt’s talent and creativity in developing browser extensions that complement your experience viewing the web. I know Ed most from the amazing browser extensions he’s created on the Kynetx platform.
Many of you know I’m a sucker for Kynetx and my vision for “The Web With No Log In Button“. Ed is making a lot of this possible with what he’s created. Some example extensions of his include HoverMe, which enables a HoverCard that appears over all your social network profiles and friends’ profiles and shows the other networks they belong to. He also wrote LikePlus, an extension that shows like buttons next to Tweets and companies on LinkedIn. The same extension also shows Facebook Like buttons next to Google search results, along with the list of people that shared those items amongst your friends on Facebook (even better than Google’s +1!). He wrote TwiKlout, an extension that shows a person’s Klout score next to their profile on Twitter.com. Ed’s got creative juices flowing through his veins, and he really gets the future of the web.
Ed can be found at @edorcutt on Twitter.
- Brad Hintze, VP, Kynetx, Inc. – Brad’s an old friend of mine, and that friendship goes all the way back to the 2 years I served in Thailand as a missionary. However, we met again recently, previously when he was working for Bungee Labs, one of the very first Platform as a Service companies (even before Google App Engine). Most recently though, Brad has started with the developer community outreach at Kynetx, and he’s doing an amazing job there.
Brad’s not just a marketer or typical community guy though. I’ve actually caught him coding a few times. Brad gets down and works in the trenches with the best of them. Brad will continue to work with successful companies in the future and he will play a big part in the reason those companies are successful.
Brad is @bradhintze on Twitter.
- Melanie Day, www.Sugardoodle.net – Melanie doesn’t know me, but I certainly know her site. Melanie’s site is a wealth of downloadable content (clipart, music, and other useful items) for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Melanie’s site is known by members of the LDS Church worldwide and she deserves some credit for that.
- Rob McMillen, VP of Sales, Rhomobile – Among the mobile frameworks out there, Rhomobile is one of the best. Their mobile platform allows developers to write in simple Ruby code and generate native iOS and Android SDK apps under just one code base.
I don’t know Rob well, but I do know their company. If the caliber and reach of what their company has been able to provide is any reflection on their VP of Sales, Rob McMillen should be a safe vote for the v|100.
Rob is @rhobmobile on Twitter.
- Brad Cahoon, Kalood.com – I admit I know little about Kalood, but curiosity got the best of me. Their site calls themselves “The Social Deal Platform”. It requires a Facebook login. It’s in private beta so I can’t try it out though. Based on their about page they look to be similar to Groupon.com or LivingSocial, but my guess is they have a bit more social twist on how you are delivered your daily deals. Having been one of the main developers on SteepAndCheap.com, also a Utah site, I’m very familiar with these types of sites, and a more social focus could be an interesting twist to what has already been shown to be a successful business model. I’ll be watching this one.
Brad is @kalooding on Twitter.
- Ryan Elkins, iActionable.com – I first saw iActionable and Ryan at a Utah Launchup event. iActionable is building a service model around gameification. Gameification is the process for apps and websites to keep customers and users engaged by casually rewarding them and encouraging them along the way. iActionable provides Foursquare-like reward badges and other items that you can integrate into your own platforms to engage and entice users to stick around. Gameification is a budding new industry that I think has a lot of future, and I think it’s great that Utah has a company that is thinking about how to monetize this industry.
Follow Ryan at @ryane on Twitter.
- Robert Nay, Nay Games (Creator of Bubble Ball) – I’ve never met Robert (although I have met his older brother) – this is one entrepreneur I really, really want to meet some time. If I could teach my kids to be anything like him I would consider myself a successful father.
Robert is the 14 year old creator of Bubble Ball, which was once the number one application in the iTunes app store. Yes, he was the man, er, kid, who took out Angry Birds. He’s not finished though. He has his own Game company, and plans to build more apps for the iPhone and other mobile devices. This is one smart kid, and I admit I’m a bit jealous of him in that I didn’t have mobile devices and app stores to write for when I was his age. I’m very impressed by this young man – can’t wait to see what he’s done in 5 years.
Robert can be found at @naygamesllc on Twitter.