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UCL students and alumni named in Forbes’ list of leading entrepreneurs and creatives

20 April 2021

11 individuals from UCL’s community have been named in Forbes’ annual ‘Top 30 Under 30’ list of leading entrepreneurs and creatives in Europe.

Student walking past a UCL building with giant letters spelling out UCL

Now in its sixth year, the prestigious list is divided into different categories, with members of UCL’s enterprising community represented in six categories:

Media & Marketing

  • Ali Tehrani (UCL Economics and Geography) is founder of Astroscreen which uses AI to improve internet communities by detecting social media fakes, disinformation, conspiracy theories and election interference.
  • Bolu Babalola (UCL United States Studies: History and Politics) is author of best-selling novel Love in Colour. She was also recognised for her work as an ambassador for The World Literacy Foundation.
  • Zeena Qureshi (UCL History of Art with Material Studies) is CEO and co-founder of Sonantic. The startup uses AI to create realistic voices for characters made by entertainment studios. 

Art & Culture

  • Kaitlin Fritz (UCL History of Art) and Olga Kravchenk are co-founders of award-winning education technology startup Musemio. 
  • Jadé Fadojutimi (UCL Slade School of Fine Art) is an acclaimed visual artist. 
  • Katy Hessel (UCL History of Art) is an art historian and curator who launched the popular Instagram @thegreatwomenartists and is a contributor to British Vogue.
  • Fisayo Longe (Anthropology BA) is founder of Kai Collective, a size-inclusive fashion brand.

Technology

  • Mariam Jimoh (UCL Biomedical Sciences) is founder of Oja, a delivery service for local ethnic groceries.

Finance

  • Pablo Lubroth (UCL Pharmacoloy and UCL Biochemical Engineering) is an investor at Hummingbird Ventures, which has a strong focus on biotech. 

Entertainment

  • Purvish Thaker (Biochemical Engineering MSc) is founder of Sufiscore, a YouTube channel helping South Asian artists deliver music directly to their audiences.

Science & Healthcare 

  • Marianna Kapsetaki (UCL Performing Arts Medicine) is a physician, researcher and classical pianist. She is conducting one of the largest studies on spatial memory in stroke patients. She is currently completing a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at Imperial College London. 

These exceptional individuals reflect UCL’s thriving community of entrepreneurial students and alumni. In 2019/20, UCL’s graduate startups employed 1,600 people, and attracted £44 million in external investment. In 2020, three UCL startups were selected for the world-leading business accelerator programme Y Combinator.

Dr Kathryn Walsh, Executive Director, UCL Innovation & Enterprise, said: “I congratulate all the enterprising individuals who are rightly recognised in this prestigious list for their creativity, hard work and determination. It’s been a challenging 12 months for the small business community. As the Forbes list shows, our young entrepreneurs are undaunted and are continually bringing forward innovative ideas and solutions. This activity will form the bedrock of the economic recovery that we are all hoping for.”

Vital support from the UCL startup ecosystem

Astroscreen and Musemio were supported at BaseKX, UCL’s dedicated entrepreneurship hub, run by UCL Innovation & Enterprise. They received business advice, mentorship and the right environment to structure and grow their companies further. They were also able to access specialist training programmes and take part in networking events.

Astroscreen uses the latest machine learning techniques and human intelligence to tackle disinformation on social media. They help businesses and the government detect and mitigate the effects of disinformation.

Musemio develops and makes immersive mobile virtual reality (VR) games that allow children to explore arts, culture and history in a fun, accessible way.

On being included in the Forbes’ list, Ali Tehrani, founder, Astroscreen said: “It feels great for our work at Astroscreen to receive recognition.

“UCL has played an important role in my entrepreneurial journey. As a student, it was a great environment to experiment with startups. As an alumnus, I’ve received continued support, including backing from the UCL Technology Fund.”

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Photo by Matt Clayton © UCL