Founders of Two Chicago Startups Make Inc.'s “30 Under 30”

Founders of local startups Avant and Bucketfeet rank among "best and brightest young entrepreneurs"

Inc. named the founders of two Chicago-based startups in its “30 Under 30” list this year, which showcases the “best and brightest young entrepreneurs.”

The magazine’s 10th annual list features Chicago companies Avant and BucketFeet among the 30 companies ranked.

Co-founded by Paul Zhang (28), John Sun (30) and Al Goldstein (34), Avant is an online consumer lender that approves people for loans even with “slightly tarnished credit ratings.”

The business magazine described Avant as “part of the leading edge of young companies shaking up the traditional banking industry, which has left a big, yawning gap when it comes to serving this consumer niche.”

The other Chicago company honored in the list is the shoe startup BucketFeet.

Aaron Firestein, 29, co-founded the company with Raaja Nemani in 2011. What sets their startup apart from other shoe companies is that anyone can submit artwork to the BucketFeet Platform, with chosen artists receiving $250 up front and $1 per pair sold.

Since becoming a hit online, the company has expanded its reach to 30 countries. The shoes are sold at countless stores. from Bloomingdale’s to the company’s local stores in Chicago and New York City.

Fans of Avant and BucketFeet can support the Chicago companies by voting for their favorite 2015 “30 Under 30” founders on Inc.’s website.

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