A reputation well deserved

The best and brightest of UW’s innovators were highlighted once again in Forbes 30 Under 30 list released just last week.

Douglas Lusted, 22 and co-founder of WestonExpressions, received recognition in the marketing category, while Ted Livingston, 26 and co-founder of Kik Messenger, Eric Migicovsky, 27 and founder of Pebble, were highlighted under the tech category. 

Forbes’ 30 under 30 is a list of, in their words, “the brightest stars in 15 different fields under the age of 30.” The list aims to acknowledge those who are present and future leaders in the areas of finance, Hollywood, tech, social, music, sports, games, science, education, law, media, marketing, art, energy, and food.

It highlights the young and achieving — making it clear that the youth have even more to offer than the stellar accomplishments that they have displayed already. These are the people that are maximizing their youth and potential to become not the world’s up-and-coming game changers, but who are changing the globe in their respective fields right now.

Lusted is the CEO of WestonExpressions, which Forbes describes as a “technology corporation providing hardware and software innovations for the out-of-home advertisement industry.” WestonExpressions gained attention as a Waterloo startup after Lusted won UW’s Innovation Showcase and VeloCity Venture Fund while in his second year.

Livingston, who co-started Kik Messenger, an instant messaging application for mobile devices, was a former intern at Blackberry. Livingston came up with the messenger app because Blackberry’s wouldn’t work on other operating systems. It took only 15 days for Kik to reach one million user registrations when it was launched in 2010; today it has 100 million. 

Migicovsky, a UW graduate and the founder of Pebble, set records as the most successful crowd-funded project to date, back in 2012 when it raised over $10 million. Pebble is a smart watch that displays notifications and messages from the user’s smartphone using Bluetooth, allowing greater convenience and personalization of one’s digital life.

Forbes wrote: “Never before has youth been such an advantage. These founders … aren’t waiting for a proper bump up the career ladder. Their goals are way bigger — and perfectly suited to the dynamic, entrepreneurial, and impatient digital world they grew up in.”

UW, which has been named &ldquo;Canada&rsquo;s most innovative university&rdquo; by <em>Maclean&rsquo;s</em> 21 years running, is a school that prides itself on its spirit of &ldquo;why not?&rdquo;, a mentality that has carried over into the bright and moving careers of these youth. Kik and WestonExpressions are both ideas hatched in the community of VeloCity, the heart of the UW startup community. After such acknowledgement, one can only expect to see greater things from students of the University of Waterloo.