Jeff Lawson, 39
Twilio became Wall Street’s knight in shining armor after a massively successful 2016 IPO, the first and so far only U.S. “unicorn” to brave the public markets this year. A former Amazon Web Services and StubHub engineer, Lawson founded Twilio in 2008 to create a simpler way to add messaging or calls to websites and apps. Now it has almost 31,000 customers, including Salesforce and Uber (which uses it to deliver texts from passengers to drivers); since the IPO, Twilio shares have quadrupled. CEO he most admires: late Intel chief executive Andy Grove.