40 under 40: Best-kept secrets

September 19, 2013, 11:20 AM UTC

Liv Garfield

"I once modeled bridal wear as a summer job. (A long time ago, mind you)."


"That my name is William Adams, not William James Adams or something, that ain't me. But if you Wikipedia me that's what it thinks my name is. And it's wrong. It frustrates me."

Aaron Levie

"I was once rejected by Google, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers (phew!), and Napster (phew!!) for internships, in the same summer."

Claudia Sender

"I had an accident and broke my ankle while hiking in Hawaii's Na Pali Coast. I had to be rescued by a helicopter, which crash-landed on its way to the rescue site. I spent the night on the mountain waiting for the helicopter to arrive and only learned about the crash the next morning."

Slava Rubin

"My mom and I are really good friends."

Alli Webb

"I'm a total insomniac, definitely not a morning person. Unfortunately, I find my most productive time between 9 p.m. and midnight, after putting the little ones to bed."

Niraj Shah

32. Niraj Shah

You may not have heard of Wayfair, but neither have a lot of the people who've turned the online purveyor of home goods (faux florals, ceiling fans, fire pits) into a nearly $1-billion-in-sales business. CEO Shah and his Cornell classmate Steve Conine started out with racksandstands.com in 2002 and quickly expanded, buying dozens of niche domain names and launching many from scratch—simplydogbeds.com, justshagrugs.com, dinnerplates.com—and in 2011 changing the company name from CSN Stores to Wayfair (700 employees went on a Boston bar crawl in Wayfair T-shirts to help market the new name). Today under three main sites—Wayfair, flash-sales site Joss & Main, and the higher-end AllModern.com—it's the biggest online-only homegoods seller, and this summer it acquired New York retailer DwellStudio. The Boston business community is keeping close watch for an imminent IPO. We bet Jeff Bezos is too.

"The job I learned the most in prior to graduating from college would be when I was the host-cashier at the Big Boy Restaurant (casual American food) during high school."

Katia Beauchamp

31. Katia Beauchamp & Hayley Barna

Founded in 2010 by Harvard Business School grads Barna and Beauchamp, Birchbox providers its female users with four to five beauty samples for $10 a month. The startup popularized the subscription box trend, but don't categorize it as such. The monthly packages enable bite-size discoveries, leading more than half of all subscribers to purchase full size products on their website. Birchbox has raised $11.9 million to date and launched its men's line (with a higher price point of $20 per month) in April 2012. It then acquired Parisian JolieBox the following September, allowing easy expansion into France, Spain and the UK, growing its user-base upwards of 400,000.

"I sing loudly in the shower, and I might have a dream of singing on a big stage someday."

Ross Martin

"I just lost my world record for most ear-wiggles in 30 seconds. I'm upset about it. Training now to recapture the title. Not kidding."

Kristin Groos Richmond

"I spent a great deal of my childhood on a ranch in Texas. My first entrepreneurial pursuit was harvesting and selling buckets of pecans. $1 per bucket. What a deal!"

Dhiraj Rajaram

"I have only bought used cars in my life. I don't believe in buying new cars."

Kat Cole

"When I'm not indulging in yummy, sweet baked goods as I love to do (like Cinnabon), I eat mostly green and white food. Green: Kale, broccoli, spinach, wheatgrass. And white: eggs, chicken, yogurt, kefir. I'm a walking dietary conflict of interest -- and it works for me."

Ryan McInerney

Ryan McInerney

"I met my wife when we were eight years old. We met 30 years ago, began dating 20 years ago, and were married 10 years ago."

"I met my wife when we were eight years old. We met 30 years ago, began dating 20 years ago, and were married 10 years ago."

Tamara Ralph

"Michael Russo and I are engaged!"