LinkedIn Unveils the 2016 Next Wave List: Top Professionals 35 and Under

These Next Wavers Are Making Companies Millions, Saving Companies Millions and Creating New Million-Dollar Market Categories

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--()--LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE:LNKD), the world’s largest professional network on the Internet, announced today the 2016 launch of the LinkedIn Next Wave. The annual list is driven by exclusive LinkedIn data, encompassing millions of member interactions combined with editorial insights to name the top 120 professionals 35 and under — all of whom are transforming their industries to make a lasting impact on today and tomorrow’s business landscape.

As part of the LinkedIn List franchise celebrating the companies and the people making an impact in the professional world, the Next Wave list spotlights the top professionals who you may not know, but should. The honorees who made the cut have demonstrated an invaluable impact on business: working to make companies millions, save companies millions or create new million-dollar market categories. Others are inventing programs or organizations meant to enrich the lives of millions. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, although some common trends emerge:

  • Next Wavers value a strong professional network. The Next Wave honorees have 25 times more connections than the average LinkedIn member, proving that a strong network is critical to success.
  • Move over, Ivies, and think twice about your MBA. Sixty-three percent of the Next Wavers do not have an Ivy League education and 60 percent did not attend graduate school.
  • Artificial intelligence should be the next skill you add to your resume. From Otto’s self-driving trucks to COSY’s retail robots and Amazon’s Alexa, this year’s list is packed with artificial intelligence. Even the job interview, something that has remained the same for decades, is benefiting from machine learning and A.I. at Next Waver Mark Newman’s HireVue.
  • Earth-friendly business is key. Sustainability is the future of business. Whether it’s the plant-based burger that “bleeds” from Impossible Foods, the sustainable protein source in crickets used by Exo, or AeroFarms’ creation of a vertical farm that takes up less than 1 percent of the land required of conventional growers, professionals are making money saving the earth.

“LinkedIn has unique access to what is going on under the hood of the professional world and through our Next Wave list, we are identifying the leaders who are defining the future through their incredible and innovative work,” says Daniel Roth, executive editor, LinkedIn. "This is an exceptionally inspirational group and I'm going to be following all of them; you should, too."

Highlights include:

  • Technology: Don Burnette, the co-founder of Otto, the self-driving truck startup recently acquired by Uber, and seen as critical to the company’s autonomous future.
  • VC & Finance: Connie Chan, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz frequently tapped to broker high-profile deals in China.
  • Retail: Jonas Cleveland, the founder of a startup deploying robots inside Walgreens, Home Depot and other retailers to check inventory nightly, making a time-consuming process more efficient and accurate, positively impacting retailers’ bottom line.
  • Social Impact: Emily Miller, a former Army engineer and co-founder of Rumi Spice, an economic partnership focused on giving rural Afghan farmers an alternative to the opiate trade by sourcing high-quality saffron.
  • Education: Christopher Gray incited the biggest Shark Tank fight to date over his app Scholly, which connects students to millions of dollars’ worth of scholarships.
  • Media: Daniel Lippman, the co-author of Politico Playbook, who catapulted his career from college by copy editing top journalists. He’s now charged with reinventing the site’s flagship newsletter for a younger audience.
  • Marketing & Social Media: Elias Friedman, creator of The Dogist, with 2.2 million Instagram followers, who helped inaugurate a new genre of lucrative dog marketing, attracting big-name sponsors like Google, Uber and Purina.

Like all of the LinkedIn content efforts, the methodology is derived from a combination of LinkedIn data and editorial insights. To narrow down LinkedIn’s 450+ million member base to determine this list, we examined millions of member interactions, such as which profiles were most viewed by members in the same industry; social engagement performance; and the frequency that candidates appeared in the news, using Newsle data. We also applied an editorial lens and polled the 2015 Next Wavers as well as LinkedIn Influencers such as Hotel Tonight CEO Sam Shank and CEO of Crisis Text Line Nancy Lublin to vet and suggest professionals in their industries making waves.

The complete LinkedIn Next Wave list, along with video interviews and special features, can be found at LinkedIn invites you to celebrate the honorees and their accomplishments using the hashtag #LinkedInNextWave on social media. The next LinkedIn List in the series, LinkedIn Top Voices, will be unveiled later this year and will focus on the best voices on LinkedIn — those who write, share and develop their brands through insightful curation and creation.

About LinkedIn

LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful and transforms the way companies hire, market, and sell. Our vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce through the ongoing development of the world’s first Economic Graph. LinkedIn has more than 450 million members and has offices around the world.


Ashley Levey, 212-615-9338

Release Summary

LinkedIn Corporation, the world’s largest professional network on the Internet, announced today the 2016 launch of the LinkedIn Next Wave.


Ashley Levey, 212-615-9338