Northeastern University was well represented in BetaBoston’s recent 25 Most Innovative People Under 25 list, which highlighted the entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and social media prowess of five young alumni.
Those graduates are Julian Jung, founder and CEO of Tablelist; Laura Marelic, founder of Scout, Northeastern’s student-run design studio; Christopher Wolfel, co-founder and chief revenue officer at Mavrck; Elizabeth Barno, community manager at Greentown Labs; and Benjamin Anderson, co-founder and CEO of Amino Apps.
Four of the ventures got started through IDEA, Northeastern’s student-run venture accelerator.
The list was compiled by the editorial staff at BetaBoston, The Boston Globe’s technology and innovation section, and released last month. The selections were based on submissions spanning several industries, including health, music, and technology.
We caught up with four of these extraordinary alumni to find out what it takes to be considered a top innovator in the Greater Boston area.
Elizabeth Barno, SSH’13
Barno was the first employee hired at Greentown Labs, a Somerville, Massachusetts-based incubator that offers space and tools to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses. As a community manager, Barno makes sure Greentown member startups have everything they need to grow.
“We have created a real sense of community and collaboration at Greentown,” Barno said. “It’s really awesome to see a company reach a funding milestone or have to get a bigger office space because their staff is growing.”
Julian Jung, DMSB’13
While at Northeastern, Jung gave up a lucrative real estate business to fully devote himself to Tablelist, a platform that makes it easy for users to book outings at their favorite nightlife spots. That decision has paid off, as Tablelist now has more than 175 venue partners across the country.
“I had to give Tablelist my all,” Jung said. “It is wild to see it come from the IDEA lab to seven cities.”
Laura Marelic, AMD’15
Marelic certainly left her mark on Northeastern, founding the university’s student-run design studio, which is based in the College of Arts, Media and Design. Since its launch two years ago, Scout’s team has worked on projects for various clients and events, including the Curry Student Center’s 50-year anniversary; an exhibit for Northeastern’s Our Marathon digital archive; and Coffeebar, a first-of-its-kind all-natural energy bar infused with a full cup of fair trade coffee.
“The work we’ve done the past two years was above and beyond what I expected,” Marelic said. “The attention that Scout got and how badly people wanted to get involved was a big accomplishment.”
Chris Wolfel, DMSB’13
As co-founder and chief revenue officer for Mavrck, Wolfel is charged with marketing the company’s platform that helps businesses connect with and activate their most influential customers. Wolfel also sits on IDEA’s advisory board, where he works with up-and-coming ventures.
“One of things I tell most new entrepreneurs is ‘Your idea isn’t that special,’” Wolfel said. “It comes down to how can you execute it. There are probably four or five people having the exact same meeting we are, the only question is who can do it best.”
Ben Anderson, AMD’12
Founded in 2011, Anderson’s Amino Apps is a mobile-based social service aimed at connecting users with specialized interests. Amino iPhone apps have been downloaded more than 500,000 times in more than 50 countries.
“Our vision is to own the interest market and become the best way for users to experience their interests on their mobile devices,” Anderson told news@Northeastern last year. “I see a future in which we have an app for every popular book, movie franchise, you name it.”