Young and Smart

Meet the 4 impressive Houstonians on Forbes' coveted 30 Under 30 list

Meet the 4 impressive Houstonians on Forbes' coveted 30 Under 30 list

Simone Biles
Simone Biles is one of the Houstonians who show up on Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2017. Simone Biles/Facebook

Perhaps Forbes took a little inspiration from last year's CultureMap Top Texans Under 30 program, because a few of our winners show up on the business site's vaunted 30 Under 30 list.

Now in its sixth year honoring "the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators, and game-changers" — and boasting an acceptance rate of less than 4 percent, statistically making the list "harder to get into than Harvard" — 30 Under 30 actually encompasses 600 finalists in 20 categories. Twenty-two of this year's recipients are Texas-based.

And four of those remarkable youngsters hail from Houston. From Olympic gold medalists to tree titans to the woman who's making spinal taps hurt less, here are the Houston-area honorees that are gaining global attention.

Christina Karapataki: Energy
Karapataki is really good at spending other people's money. Specifically, she does venture capital investing for Schlumberger, the world's biggest oilfield services company. Her money moves have helped finance 10 companies in recent years, to the tune of $9 million.

Jessica Traver: Healthcare
The mere idea of a spinal tap probably sends shivers down your, well, spine. Traver and Nicole Moskowitz thought imaging technology, pressure sensors, and predictive analytics could not only increase the procedure's accuracy but also lessen trauma to the patient, and so IntuiTap was born.

Jonathan Saperstein: Manufacturing and industry
How hard can it be to grow trees? Harder than you'd think, especially if the trees need to be consistent in appearance in order to sell. Saperstein has grown his business, Tree Town USA, into the country's largest wholesaler of trees — he even bought out his father in 2007, after beginning to run the business in 2002.

Simone Biles: Sports
The pint-size powerhouse from Spring is one of the youngest people on Forbes' list, but she also happens to be one of the most decorated U.S. women gymnasts ever with four Olympic gold medals and 10 world championship gold medals. Her athletic skill has attracted endorsement deals with Nike, Kellogg's, and Hershey's, and she even has her own line of gymnastic equipment.

Movers and shakers from Austin and Dallas also populate the list, including Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe, Verts Mediterranean Grill founder Dominik Stein, wine revolutionary Michael Kennedy, and e-commerce fashionista Amber Venz Box.