Devin Thorpe, a Forbes Contributor, will interview entrepreneurs Michael Zakarin, Jared Kleinert, and Grace Garey about their individual platforms and most importantly their efforts to Crowdfund for Social Good.
Synergi.st: Jared Kleinert is a 17 year old tech entrepreneur who has worked for two start-ups in San Francisco: Grockit and15Five. At Grockit, he helped develop a product called Learni.st that raised $20 million shortly after he left and had over 700,000 users after a year, and he still works at 15Five, an intuitive employee engagement and culture management start-up that raised $1 million in January. Jared been an entrepreneur since 15, and now has a start-up called Synergist, which is a crowdsourcing site for social entrepreneurs to create, collaborate on, and share their movements and enterprises. They launched an industry-first campaign at the intersection of crowdsourcing and social good to raise money themselves using our own platform, and Forbes recently named Jared as “The Definition of a Social Entrepreneur”. His newest project is a book called “2 Billion Under 20” about youth empowerment, sharing stories from some of the world’s smartest and most talented people under 20 in order to inspire the two billion people on the planet under 20 years of age.
Watsi: Grace Garey directs marketing at Watsi. Before Watsi, Grace worked at Kiva, where she designed, launched, and marketed the organization’s first education and student outreach program. She also helped build a system to streamline global operations with Kiva’s 146 field partners in 62 countries. Previously, Grace worked with the International Rescue Committee, one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world, on its public relations and advocacy team. She has led community development projects in Ghana and India, and is interested in changing the way people interact across the world. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Global and International Studies and Political Science.
WeSparkt: Michael Zakarin brings marketing, strategy, operations and social media expertise. He recently worked in a finance and operations role in a DC-area startup. Prior to his startup experience, Michael was the lead guitarist in an internationally-renowned music group. He built a social media following of over 1 million followers for his group as an early pioneer of MySpace as a medium for music distribution. He has a MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and a BA from Georgetown University
Devin Thorpe thinks he is the luckiest person alive. After being “let go” from the best job he’d ever had—as the Chief Financial Officer of the multinational food and beverage company MonaVie—he and his wife ended up living in China for a year where he wrote Your Mark On The World and embarked on the career he’d always wanted yet hadn’t dared dream.
Now, as an author, a popular guest speaker and Forbes contributor, Devin is devoted full time to championing social good. His current life isn’t much like his past.
As an entrepreneur, Devin ran—at separate times—a boutique investment banking firm and a small mortgage company. He served as the Treasurer for the multinational vitamin manufacturer USANA Health Sciences years before becoming CFO for MonaVie. Over his career he led or advised on the successful completion of $500 million in transactions.
Devin squeezed in two brief stints in government, including two years working for Jake Garn on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee Staff and another year working for an independent state agency called USTAR, where he helped foster technology entrepreneurship during Governor Jon Huntsman’s administration. Devin is proud to have graduated from the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business, which recognized him as a Distinguished Alum in 2006. He also earned an MBA at Cornell University where he ran the student newspaper, Cornell Business.
Today, Devin channels the idealism of his youth with the loving support of his wife, Gail. Their son Dayton is a PhD candidate in Physics at UC Berkeley (and Devin rarely misses an opportunity to mention that).