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

Wesley Chan, 32

Building new technology businesses


The coach: At Google, Wesley Chan displayed a knack for building teams to fill technology niches.
Credit: Toby Burditt

Wesley Chan has a knack for turning good ideas into new businesses--and doing it with minimal resources. In 2005, Chan's small team at Google, which incorporated two startups he acquired for the company, launched Google Analytics to provide a free version of the tools the search giant previously used internally. In 2006, he dreamed up another free service, Google Voice, which launched in 2009. This one offers automatic transcription of voice mail, the ability to use one number for different phones, and many other features. Given only two company engineers to work with on the project, Chan acquired the startup ­GrandCentral in 2007; he and his new crew spent the next two years putting the service together in secret.

Google Voice now has millions of users. But Chan has moved on again and is now a partner at Google's venture capital investment group, Google Ventures. He still invests in software but is free to cast his net wider. In particular, he is developing an interest in stem-cell medicine, even though the field has no direct connection to Google's business. He says, "For me it's about going where I can learn the most, and making the output of my learning something that is world-changing." --Tom Simonite

2010 TR35 Winners

Danah Boyd (video)

Shaping the rules for social networks

Wesley Chan

Building new technology businesses

Nick Feamster

Watching the suspicious behavior of spam

David Karp

A platform that keeps ­bloggers blogging

David Kobia (video)

Software that helps populations cope with crises

Christopher Kruegel

Developing software that shuts down botnets

Kati London (video)

Teaching real-world skills through games

Avi Muchnick (video)

Cloud-based multimedia editing software


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