Meet the Australians on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for 2024

Entrepreneurs

Forbes Asia unveiled its 30 Under 30 cohort for 2024, with 26 entrants from Australia making the cut.
Alex Dekker, 23

Founder, Alex Makes Meals

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Alex Dekker decided to bake lasagna to feed his sister and her colleagues working overtime at a hospital. This inspired him to found Alex Makes Meals, a non-profit organization helping to combat food insecurity across Melbourne. His organization employs volunteers to serve meals at more than 35 charities and other outlets and also hosts a training program teaching culinary skills to people with intellectual disabilities. He won the Banksia Foundation’s Young Changemaker National Sustainability Award in 2023 and was nominated for Young Australian of the Year in 2022.

Alexandra Murray, 25

Founder, Be Seen Socials

Alexandra Murray is the founder of Be Seen Socials, an Australian marketing firm that helps online influencers grow their businesses. She brings six years of experience as a fashion influencer and offers personalized mentoring and content creation from Be Seen Social’s own photo studio. Murray’s all-women staff has worked with Meshki, Blingz and Runway The Label.

Ashwin Ramachandran, 24

Founder, Sapyen

Ashwin Ramachandran is the founder and CEO of Melbourne-based male fertility testing startup Sapyen. The company has developed a test kit for home use, which it says can keep sperm samples collected at home viable for up to three days. Sapyen sells the $149 product to consumers as well as to in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics. Founded in 2021, the startup has raised $1.2 million in funding from investors including investment firm Antler.

Ben Randall, 27

Founder, Restated Vintage

In 2018, Ben Randall started selling used clothing from his bedroom, worried about the ill effects of fast fashion on the environment. Now he has a brick-and-mortar store in Sydney and online sales. Sourcing from the U.S. and Europe, Restated Vintage has recycled over 300,000 T-shirts, sweatshirts and other articles of clothing. Run on its own profits, the company has received mentorship in digital services and marketing from Afterpay, the Australian payment company known for its buy now, pay later service.

Chanel Contos, 25

Founder, Teach Us Consent

One of Chanel Contos’ Instagram ‘stories’ — in which she asked how many of her peers experienced sexual assault while in school — inspired her to improve sex ed across Australia. Contos collected thousands of testimonials and called for consent education to be integrated into sex ed in Australia. Chanel started the NGO Teach Us Consent, lobbying for more comprehensive and earlier sex education in Australia and elsewhere. In 2023, her NGO received a $2.28 million grant from the Australian government to continue consent education, and Contos published a book, Consent Laid Bare.

Chanel Contos
Cian Dawson, 29

Cofounder, Gym Bod

In grad school, Cian Dawson craved ice cream but knew it wasn’t the healthy option. So she and boyfriend Courtney Brown, 30, bought an A$99 ($64) ice cream maker and experimented with protein powders until they made desserts that didn’t taste like a nutritional supplement. The couple started selling Gym Bod ice cream brand from a food truck, and in 2022 won an A$2 million order with Coles supermarket chain, which was doubled a year later. The ice cream is marketed as high protein, ‘ultra low sugar’ products, but they do contain non-sugar sweeteners such as Xylitol. The company now sells nine flavors, including peanut butter salted caramel and white chocolate raspberry ripple, for about A$10 a pint in more than 1,000 stores across Australia and New Zealand, and exports to Kuwait and the UAE.

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Eldin Rostom, 29

Founder, Diag-Nose.io

Cofounded by Eldin Rostom in 2020, Melbourne-based diag-nose.io focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of nasal and respiratory disorders. The startup has developed algorithms and technologies to analyze nasal fluid, which it says can potentially lead to more accurate diagnosis and better treatments. Diag-nose.io has raised more than $2 million in funding, including from government grants and investment firms such as Sydney-based Artesian.

Harriet Goodrich, 29

Lecturer, University of Tasmania

A lecturer in sustainable aquaculture at the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Harriet Goodrich studies how different types of fish respond to environmental changes, including how global warming might affect their growth. Goodrich, whose research has the potential to help better conserve species, published in 2022 a scientific report in the renowned journal Nature, where she examined how man-made changes can affect digestive systems of fish.

James Parr, 27

Disability advocate

James Parr is a champion of people with disabilities living life to the fullest. Parr lost his lower right leg while fighting osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, and he wants to teach the mainstream media that having a disability is not always sad. He uses social media to highlight his love of fashion, fun and athleticism, has written for Pedestrian TV, Mamamia, Esquire, Urban List and Harper’s Bazaar, and modelled for brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. Last year, Parr was named Model of the Year by GQ Australia.

Ilyas Anane, 29

Founder, Vitable

Cofounded by Ilyas Anane in 2019, Vitable is a Sydney-based subscription vitamin service with monthly deliveries based on a customer’s health, lifestyle and diet needs. The online service provides daily vitamin packets determined via a detailed questionnaire and has amassed over 130,000 customers in Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia-Pacific. To date, Vitable has raised A$17.1 million ($11 million), including from Global Founders Capital, Rocket Internet and Commencer Capital.

Jack Growden, 26

Founder, LifeHaus International

Jack Growden founded LiteHaus International in 2017 to provides digital learning tools to students in the Pacific. He started the NGO after visiting a school without computers in Papua New Guinea in 2017. LiteHaus repurporses used desktop computers and laptops for students in Papua New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines and Solomon Islands. Growden hopes to help a million people by the time he turns 30. He was a finalist for the 2022 Young Australian of the Year award and won Deloitte’s Lead2030 job development challenge at the 2022 One Young World Summit.

Jacob Thorstensen, 27

Assistant professor, Bond University

An assistant professor at Bond University, Jacob Thorstensen focuses on human neuroscience, with a primary interest in researching how parts of the brain and spinal cord control skeletal muscles. He is particularly interested in studying how non-invasive techniques such as stimulating brain cells with magnetic fields can help to treat brain and nerve injuries. Thorstensen has published via leading academic journals including The Journal of Physiology and Journal of Neurophysiology.

James Course, 29

Founder, Gawk

James Course and his brother Luke (who is over 30) started Melbourne-based roadside advertising company Gawk Outdoor in 2018. With clients like Amazon, Disney and BASF, Gawk is acquiring competitor Transad, and when the deal is complete in July, it will have some 160 traditional and digital billboard locations. Then Gawk will control 60% of the outdoor advertising market in Regional Victoria, it says. The Australian Financial Review called it one of the 100 fastest growing startups in the country in 2022.

Jarrod Webb, 29

Founder, Blinq

Jarrod Webb created the digital business card app Blinq, which allows people to create and share their professional profiles by QR code, LinkedIn or email. The app is free for individuals, or they can pay $3 a month for premium features, while subscriptions for businesses start at $5 a month and include customized templates, branding control and 24/7 customer support. The 29-year-old, who says his favorite TV show is The Office, launched the networking tool in 2017. A Blinq card is shared every second, the company says, and it claims over 1 million users.

Helena Franco, 28

Founder, Australis Scientific

Cofounded by Helena Franco in 2021, Australis Scientific is working on a new device to treat urinary incontinence. Now undergoing clinical trial, the product known as In-Confidence is a connected patch that can be attached above the ankle. It uses electric pulses to stimulate and train nerves responsible for controlling the bladder. Australis Scientific has raised almost $8 million in funding, including from government grants and investors such as Japan’s Rohto Pharmaceutical.

Natassia Nicolao Grace, 29

Founder, Conserving Beauty

After finishing university with a bachelor’s degree in science, Natassia Nicolao Grace worked with wellness brands to improve their supply chain transparency and ethical sourcing before starting her own skincare company, Conserving Beauty, in 2021. It makes patented makeup wipes and sheet masks that can be dissolved in water after use, leaving no microplastics or other waste behind, the Melbourne-based company says. Conserving Beauty’s all-female board includes supermodel and entrepreneur Elle Macpherson.

Nikita Gossain, 29

Founder, PPR Capital

Nikita Gossain founded the Melbourne-based PPR Capital in 2020. The company purchases small businesses from owners who want to retire but can’t find buyers and then uses its own ideas to turn the companies around. Gossain is also the director of Smokeshield, a security company she acquired in 2021. The company offers advanced security systems and training via virtual reality.

Rachael Wilde, 27

Cofounder, tbh skincare

Her own decade-long struggle with acne led Rachael Wilde to launch tbh Skincare in 2020. The vegan-friendly blemish-control products are free from benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, ingredients usually found in over-the-counter creams, and are carried by Australian retailers Priceline and Coles. Last year, tbh merged its skincare portfolio with Australian skin-serum maker Boost Lab to become York St Brands, with Wilde becoming the company’s chief marketing officer.

Rona Glynn-McDonald, 27

Founder, Common Ground

Rona Glynn-McDonald aims to shape Australia’s future as CEO of Common Ground, a non-profit organization that champions the cultures and stories of First Nations peoples. Glynn-McDonald, a Kaytetye woman, also cofounded First Nations Futures, an organization that works for justice and self-determination among First Nations communities. Glynn-McDonald, daughter of film director Warwick Thorton, also performs as a DJ and model. She serves on nonprofit boards and acts as First Nations advisor to Westpac Banking Group. In 2023, Rona won the University of Melbourne’s Rising Star for Young Alumni Award.

Tess Nguyen, 28

CEO, Midnight Mischief Sleepwear

Tess Nguyen built a sleepwear empire by turning around a sinking company with modern marketing tools. Nguyen, daughter of Vietnamese refugees in Australia, bet her savings on a monogramed pajama company offered for sale on a classifieds website in 2018. She grew the company’s revenues to $1.35 million within five years, partly by realizing the power of online influencers. Popular YouTuber Shani Grimmond posted a photo of sleepwear that Nguyen sent her as a gift, triggering rapid sales. Nguyen aspires to be a role model for Asian Australian women in business.

Veronica Cremen, 28

Founder, Vonnimedia

Veronica Cremen founded digital marketing agency Vonnimedia in 2020 from her living room. Since then she’s helped Australian companies with strategies to grow their online presence and sales, including Sydney jewelry maker The Littl, a home-launched brand now sold globally. “Covid was a time of opportunity,” says Cremen. “Customers were asking how they could build an online business to survive. Once Covid was over, we had to find our normal.”

Zahra Al Hilaly, 23

Youth advocate

A youth advocate from Australia, Zahra AI Hilaly speaks out on issues including child abuse, gender equality and refugee rights. She is currently a policy strategist at NAPCAN, an Australian nonprofit seeking to reduce domestic violence. Hilaly, who spent the last nine years advocating for young people’s rights, also represented Australia at the 30 for 2030 Network — a United Nations program supporting gender equality initiatives across regions.

Josh Cavallo, 24

Soccer player

Josh Cavallo was scouted at the age of 15, played on Australia’s under-20 national team in 2019 and then joined Adelaide United as a left back and central midfielder. He was given the team’s rising star award after his first season and saw his short-term contract extended. But his place in the history books was made when he came out of the closet in 2021, a rare admission in his sport. This year, he proposed to his boyfriend on Adelaide’s home pitch.

Adrian Brossard (26), Benjamin Delaney (26), HoJun Tang (26), Vanessa Zhao (25)

Cofounders, Yellowbox

In 2019, HoJun Tang, Vanessa Zhao, Adrian Brossard and Benjamin Delaney cofounded Yellowbox in a pitch competition at their undergraduate business school. Sydney-based Yellowbox enables companies and individuals to manage self-storage lockers using Bluetooth, whether for personal items at work or for parcel deliveries. Outside of A$200,000 ($131,000) from two accelerator programs, Yellowbox is self-funded, and it says it has expanded to four continents including the U.S. and has over 100,000 users.

Christopher Durre (26), Max Mito (27), Kieran Start (25)

Cofounders, StrongRoomAI

Cofounded in a garage by Christopher Durre, Kieran Start and Max Mito in 2017, Strongroom AI has developed a suite of software for Australia’s pharmacies and healthcare providers. Its products help them document prescriptions, sign off on medications as well as record and manage transactions. The company claims it has raised more than $15 million in funding from government grants and investment firms including Sydney-based Artesian.

Joel Aaron (21), Brad Karney (25), Ilan Kessler (28)

Cofounders, Refundid

In 2021, Brad Karney, Ilan Kessler and Joel Aaron cofounded Refundid, which lets e-commerce customers quickly access refunds on returned items even before they’ve physically sent them back, and at zero cost. The Sydney-based firm’s service, which is only repaid to the seller, if it’s satisfied with the returned item, is offered on over 200 brands in Australia and the U.S. It has partnerships with firms including Country Road Group, Culture Kings and Princess Polly. To date, Refundid has raised A$12 million ($7.7 million) in funding, including from U.S.-based Salesforce Ventures and ASX-listed Touch Ventures.

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