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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Scott Heiferman, 32

Built a database and developed software that would help people organize themselves.

Cofounder and CEO,

In the wake of September 11, Scott Heiferman felt the need to find new ways to build community. He knew that Americans no longer belonged to bowling leagues and Elks Clubs in the numbers that they once had, but he didnt feel that electronic chat rooms and Internet personal ads filled the void. "People still live in the real world, the real non-cyber world, where they want to be face to face," he says. "The idea was, How do you use the Internet to get people off the Internet?"

So in early 2002, he assembled a five-person team to build a database and develop software that would help people organize themselves. People sign up at the site, indicating where they live and what topics theyre interested in, and when a certain number of like-minded people in the same area have registered, the site announces a meeting. About 190,000 supporters of Howard Deans presidential campaign used to organize in the months before the Iowa caucuses, giving his campaign early momentum. About 170,000 people are now registered for meetings of Democracy for America, an organization that grew out of Deans campaign. Today, has more than 1.4 million registered users, and revenues at the privately funded company are seven times what they were a year ago.

Heiferman can get passionate about his theme of bringing people together, invoking de Tocqueville on the importance to Americans of forming associations and even citing an evolutionary imperative. "Were a species who was optimized for face-to-face interaction," he says. Meetups innovations, he adds, are "as much in social engineering as software engineering."

Heiferman has been an entrepreneur since about age nine, when he founded Scotts Slave Service to market menial tasks to his siblings. And his sense of community engagement began to blossom the next year, when he wrote what he calls a "pointless letter to every U.S. governor, major-city mayor, and Fortune 100 CEO."

2004 TR35 Winners

Jonathan Abrams

Created the Nets top social-networking site, where eight million people communicate with friends and friends of friends.

Guido Appenzeller

Started a Palo Alto, CA, firm to commercialize an encryption technology that uses a simple ID, such as an e-mail address, to ensure secure communications.

Alyssa Apsel

Adapts optical-communications technology to build receivers, transmitters, and interconnects that speed chip-to-chip communications within computers.

Anuj Batra

Leads one of the industrys top teams advancing ultrawideband wireless technology, which provides the high transmission speeds needed for streaming-media applications while consuming little power.

Serge Belongie

Created video software to analyze lab mice for adverse reactions to trial drugs.

Vance Bjorn

Partnered with fellow TR100 honoree Serge Belongie (see above) to found a Redwood City, CA, biometrics company that specializes in fingerprint recog-nition for computer access.

David Brussin

Built a router that examines the content and source of messages passing through it.

J. J. Cadiz

Invented a better approach to alleviating information overload.

Tianqaio Chen

Specializes in multiplayer fantasy and role-playing games.

Aref Chowdhury

Invented techniques at Bell Labs that enable higher-speed transmission of data over very long distances (up to 6,400 kilometers) within fiber-optic networks.

Raffaele Colombelli

Develops new types of quantum cascade microlasers with a variety of sensing and imaging applications.

Adrian Colyer

Leads the effort to improve software quality and cut development costs.

Robert Drost

Pioneered a wireless technology to eliminate the wired connections between closely spaced chips in computer systems.

Robert Frederick

Helping to lead Amazons transformation, with its own virtual vending machines.

Dan Gruhl

Serves as chief architect for IBMs WebFountain system.

Ali Hajimiri

Developed an entire radar system, squeezed into a single chip

Scott Heiferman

Built a database and developed software that would help people organize themselves.

Michael Helmbrecht

Fabricates microscopic, deformable mirrors on computer chips that perform image correction for medical imaging, surveillance, and other applications.

Aaron Hertzmann

Combines machine learning and graphics to capture the motion of actors, dancers, and athletes -- and to generate realistic animations for films and video games.

Kurt Huang

Launched a startup developing micropayments technology that allows artists, small businesses, and others to charge fees of as little as one cent for access to online content.

Ari Juels

Improved the security and privacy of radio frequency identification tags, as well as cryptographic tools for authentication systems.

Richard Kent

Produces biomechanical data vital to the design of air bags and auto safety systems.

Andre Kulzer

Created a thermodynamic simulation that showed the feasibility of gasoline direct injection, which lowers auto fuel consumption and emissions and eliminates the electric starter.

Golan Levin

Explores the artistic implications of information technology.

Massimo Marchiori

Develops more efficient ways of identifying, finding, and retrieving information on the Web.

Wojciech Matusik

Creates 3-D television and related 3-D photo and video systems that weave together images from multiple cameras.

James OBrien

Invented algorithms for simulating natural phenomena such as splashing water and explosions, for use in movies, video games, and advanced training simulations.

Nuria Oliver

Constructs more-intuitive human-computer interfaces.

Maria Petrucci-Samija

Created materials that might soon make such integrated photonic circuits possible.

Ramesh Raskar

Built large computer display systems that seamlessly combine images from multiple projectors.

Jennifer Rexford

Created tools for monitoring and automatically managing Internet traffic on large networks.

Sokwoo Rhee

Designed extremely-low-power wireless-sensor networks.

Shad Roundy

Built tiny generators for wireless sensor networks that convert low-level background vibrations into electricity, eliminating the need for batteries.

Jesse Schell

Invents new forms of digital visualization.

Kees Schep

Helped develop blue-laser optical-disc storage systems with much greater capacity than todays DVDs. The discs are now being introduced commercially.

Chaitail Sengupta

Oversees the architecture of the communications chips used in advanced cellular systems now coming to market.

Pierre Sillard

Devised a software modeling tool that enabled him to design complex optical fibers now being manufactured for use in very-high-capacity communications systems.

Simeon Simeonov

Left software engineering to engineer startups.

Charlotte Skourup

Employed "augmented reality" technologies

Ben Trott

Developed Movable Type.

Mena Trott

Mena developed a simpler user interface which allows bloggers to create links to other pages by clicking and dragging items on-screen.

Srinidhi Varadarajan

Conceived and built the worlds third-fastest supercomputer

Min Wu

Devised ways to hide digital watermarks in financial statements and other electronic documents to authenticate records, prevent fraud, and deter unauthorized distribution.

Qian Zhang

Improved roaming between cellular networks


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