Inspirational leaders - 5 men under 35

Published: 09 Dec 2014

Every business concept starts with a spark. A vision, or an idea. Many do not get off the ground, or launch and then eventually fail, but some grow and thrive. Behind all successful businesses, right at the very beginning, is an individual, or a partnership of individuals, who possess the drive to take things forward.

These individuals are inspirational figures: their achievements and ambitions set the tone for other leaders to emerge. In 2014 there are a handful of brilliant young businessmen who have made their mark, and continue to take their companies to the next level: here are five men, all under the age of 35, who have raised the bar through their insight, innovation, and commercial acumen.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

Of course - no compilation list of this sort worth its salt would exclude Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of the social networking Facebook and consequently one of the world's youngest billionaires. Zuckerberg, who turned 30 in May, famously created his first computer programme at the age of 12. Facebook was developed from a dormitory room at Harvard University; Zuckerberg later dropped out of the Ivy League school to focus on his project full-time. The rest, as they say, is history. In May 2013, he made the Fortune 500 list for the first time - at the age of 28 he was the youngest CEO included. Zuckerberg's net worth is said to be $33.3 billion.

Evan Spiegel, SnapChat

Another shining light in the digital world, Spiegel, to quote from an article in Business Insider, was 'catapulted from basically being a child to being the CEO of one of the most important tech startups in California' when he launched SnapChat alongside Bobby Murphy. Indeed, Spiegel was living at his father's house when the app was conceived. SnapChat - which allows the user to send an image which is then deleted, therefore allowing control over potentially embarrassing photos - is valued at $10 billion. Spiegel is 24 years old.

James Watt, BrewDog

Changing the pace somewhat from techie start-ups, Watt is one half (alongside Martin Dickie) of the duo who have transformed the brewery scene in the UK and beyond since the launch of BrewDog in 2007, when both men were just 24. The Aberdeen-based company brew craft beers and its growth in recent years has been stunning - it is said to be the UK's fastest-growing food and drinks company with an average annual growth of almost 170 per cent and forecasted turnover of £19m. There's been a spin-off TV show, too.

Ben Silberman, Pinterest

Pinterest was no overnight success - Silberman, its co-founder and current CEO, has said that the site had 'catastrophically small' numbers during a difficult first year. Still, the former Google employee kept at it, giving out his personal mobile phone number to many of those first users in an effort to gather feedback and grow the business. Now the social media tool is used by one fifth of online adults in the USA and valued at $3.8bn. Silberman, aged 32, has been labelled a 'modest genius'.

Kevin Systrom, Instagram

Systrom, aged 30, is a rising star. The co-founder of Instagram, the photo-sharing app, his fortunes have accelerated rapidly in recent years. The service was launched towards the end of 2010 and by the summer of 2012 had hit 80m users before being sold to Facebook for $1 billion. His story doesn't stop there: this March Instagram passed over 200m users and in September Systrom was appointed to the board of Wal-Mart.

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