From payment apps and sustainable investing to wellness for women and the metaverse, the entrepreneurs featuring on the inaugural Forbes Monaco 40 Under 40 list are making an impact beyond the borders of Monaco.
Industry: CEO, Carlo
App can’t live without: Trello
Dream mentor: Thomas Papanikolaou, founder and director Neos Chronos.
Antoine Bahri is a Syrian entrepreneur who grew up in Monaco. He is the creator of Carlo, a payment app that rewards users for shopping locally and contributing to their local economy. With Carlo, users receive cash back that they can spend in their city, effectively increasing their purchasing power when shopping locally. Carlo is unique in that it functions like a digital local currency, encouraging consumers to shop at small, local businesses and support their community’s economy. This not only benefits businesses and consumers, but also the municipality as a whole. Since 2020, the government of Monaco is directly supporting the Principality’s local businesses by offering gift cards redeemable on Carlo and financing platform fees for merchants. Before launching Carlo, Bahri worked in retail and on a payment app for restaurants in Barcelona. In 2018, he returned to Monaco to combine his previous experiences and launch Carlo. His aim is to use the latest payment technologies to innovate and bridge gaps in local economies.
Industry: Cofounder & CEO, Passion.io
App can’t live without: PassionFighters
Dream mentor: Tony Robbin
Matthias Bellmann, who has been launching apps for Monaco entrepreneurs, bootstrapped growth for Passion.io from 0-$30 million in revenue in three years and has helped 7,000 Creators launch apps. He built the first prototype of Passion.io after becoming one of the bigger instructors on Udemy with 50,000 students, where he experienced how hard it was for Creators to earn a living from their interests. Determined to solve that he launched his app which has already helped thousands of Creators generate consistent 5-, 6- and 7-figure incomes with their own applications.
Dr. Estelle Dinh
Category: Marketing and Branding
Industry: CEO, Attixs Global Collection
App can’t live without: WhatsApp, LinkedIn
Dream mentor: Prof. Dr. Wangari Maathai, the first woman to earn a PhD in East and Central Africa and to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She is the first woman Professor in her home country of Kenya.
With a Doctorate of B.A. in Luxury Management, Dr. Estelle Dinh is pursuing her dream of developing Healthcare Innovation, Longevity and Wellbeing concepts connected to luxury products and the Luxury Hospitality Industry. Having visited more than 90 countries and speaking six languages, Dr. Dinh is part of the top development team that conceives, reinvents and brands for wellness and sustainable luxury tourist development, among others, in Vietnam, Wellness World Village and Wellbeing Estate Residences in Poland. As a conference speaker and Masterclass lecturer on Luxury Branding and Marketing in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, she elaborated a “New Strategic Appraisal for an Insight into Asian Culture in Wealth Management Services” for the private banking sector and is also creating Luxury Hospitality Training Programs. Culturally aware, aristocratic, and diplomatic, she is a founding member of various exclusive Private Clubs, Royal Balls, and Coaches of International Social Etiquette and European Dining Etiquette. She worked as an Adjunct Professor at the International University of Monaco and Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland.
Category: Media and Entertainment
Industry: Founder, Camilla Organics
App can’t live without: WhatsApp
Dream mentor: Jessica Alba, founder The Honest Company
Born in Stockholm, Camilla Hansson started her career as an international model, featuring on the covers of leading magazines (including Maxime and GQ), and in 2014 was crowned Miss Sweden. The entrepreneur went on to compete in the 2015 Miss Universe competition and became an ambassador for her country, supporting a variety of philanthropic initiatives. The title of Miss Sweden provided her a unique platform from which to launch several businesses. She first founded an elite educational program teaching social and cultural etiquette to young women and went to start Camilla Organics, an innovative wellness company that sells premium CBD products for women. Her mission is to lead the introduction of CBD products as mainstream wellness supplements, helping women feel more balanced. The Monaco resident recently launched a third company, an international elite matchmaking agency—based in Monaco and London— offering the most exclusive and bespoke service to find soul mates for prominent members. Following the success of her first three ventures, she plans to progressively grow her business portfolio by branching out into innovative industries.
Category: Innovation, Private Investment, Finance
Industry: Founder and managing partner Monaco Foundry
App can’t live without: Signal
Dream mentor: The next generation of entrepreneurs.
I am amazed by what I learn every day from the worthy heirs of those who have dared irreverence, passion, creativity and action to change the world.
Monegasque Fabrice Marquet was once described as “a man who swapped science labs for business boardrooms.” After getting his PhD in biomedical engineering, he pursued a love for innovation working as a research scientist in medtech in top-tier institutes worldwide such as Columbia University. Having contributed to the creation and development of three established medtech companies in France and the U.S. (Supersonic Imagine, IPO in 2014; Vesselon; and Certis Therapeutics), he returned to Monaco in 2017 with the mission to build MonacoTech, Monaco's first innovation program from the ground up working directly with the minister of finance and economy. In 2020, he cofounded Monaco Foundry and built a world- class team at sharing the same vision and choosing “the model of deep engagement with hand-selected startups instead of the typical Spray and Pray approach. With exits from 2022 and those planned for 2023, we will have successfully exited from 30% of our portfolio with the rest of the companies going strong.” To match the right startups with the right investors through accreditation protocol, a global ecosystem—MyFoundry—was created to forge trust at scale between founders and investors and ensure that more startups are funded. “We will impact local and global GDPs through more founders succeeding with innovation that improves people’s lives and the planet.”
Category: Property Investment
Industry: Founder and CEO Hunter Jones Group & HJ Collection Ltd
Resident: United Kingdom
App can’t live without: Calendar App
Dream mentor: Grant Cardone
Reece Mennie is a social impact enthusiast, serial investor and entrepreneur, renowned for his unrivaled expertise in the alternative property investment sector. The inspiring visionary and entrepreneur has launched and scaled over the past decade several multimillion-euro businesses and has established a credible reputation within the property development and investment sector, having built a strategic portfolio with a GDV in excess of €85 million while delivering above-average returns to his growing network of some 1,600 investors. Mennie is expanding with a future office location in Monaco alongside London, Dubai and New York.
Category: Tech and Media
Industry: Founder & CEO, MonteCrypto & LifesTough.com
Resident: U. S., Sweden and Monaco
App can’t live without: LinkedIn
Dream mentor: Oprah
Dustin Plantholt is highly regarded for his contributions and impact in the world of disruptive technologies and inspirational media. As a highly regarded figure in the world of blockchain, NFT and metaverse, his contagious energy and can-do mentality has helped to build a reputation in Monaco hosting related events. VIP clients include Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and he’s advised celebs such as Gene Simmons, John Tesh, Evander Holyfield, Akon and many others. Winner of multiple awards as an NFT and Metaverse Advisor, he works with the March of Dimes, European Women’s Association, World Influencers and Bloggers Association amongst boards and foundations.
Nico Rosberg (photo credit Tom Ziora)
Category: Sustainability and motor racing
Industry: Founder and CEO Rosberg X Racing
App can’t live without: Asana. “Our entire office collaborates with the help of the project and task management app Asana as many of us work in remote offices in Germany or Switzerland. In Asana, all work is structured, saved and updated, deadlines are set, progress can be followed. All reporting is also done with the help of Asana.”
Dream mentor: Bill Gates or Henry Wellcome. “Both have created incredible philanthropic institutions that serve humankind's benefit and our planet's future.”
Within a week of clinching the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship with Mercedes AMG Petronas—and beating Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the process—Nico Rosberg retired at the peak of his 10-year racing career. He has since embarked as a sustainability entrepreneur and investor in green technologies. Monaco’s golden child launched his own YouTube channel and invested in a slew of mobility technologies, including Lilium, Tier and what3words, a geocoding system based on 3-square-meter grids that converts GPS coordinates into unique three-word addresses. The Greentech Festival he cofounded in his native Germany has just gone global, now taking place on three continents and four cities—Berlin, London, New York and Singapore—and he continues works with the Monaco government towards its transport electrification transition. “Since retiring from F1, I have focused on my investments in the sustainability field. Alongside my investment in Formula E, Rosberg X Racing won the inaugural Extreme E Championship in 2021 and came a close second this year. For me personally, it’s incredibly fulfilling to merge my passion for motorsport with fighting climate change.”
Anne and Esther Vedder
Industry: Founders and co-CEOs Vedder & Vedder
App can’t live without: Pinterest
Dream mentor: Nathalie Massanet, founder of Net-a-porter who disrupted the fashion industry with her online luxury brand platform which she sold to The Richemont group
Identical twins Anne and Esther Vedder built their jewelry business from scratch, turning it into a household name within six years while practicing smart marketing and e-commerce. The idea came to them when they could not find affordable personalized jewelry, so they started their own company with an inhouse atelier in Amsterdam. With over 70 staff, all jewelry orders are personalized by hand and sent to a worldwide clientele. From fingerprints and initials to handwritten notes and a galaxy stand of a certain moment, Vedder & Vedder continues to innovate by looking at trends and developments. The sisters have been featured in the documentary Twins of Gold on RTL where they have been followed during their entrepreneurial and private life. The first episode starts in Paris where Anne and Esther met Rita Ora for whom they designed a special collection. With their mindset “If you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand,” the sisters have future plans for Vedder & Vedder in Monaco and the U.S.. With their Podcast, talkshow, docuserie and the recently launched The Selfmade Project, they have another mission to inspire people to follow their dreams and passion and believe in themselves.
While this entrepreneurial year was alit with fortysomethings in Monaco, a few Under 30 stood out in the crowd.
30 Under 30
Industry: Founder and CEO Marlerino Group
App you can’t live without: Telegram
Dream mentor: Pavel Durov
For seven years, Vladislav Garmash’s Marlerino Group has provided its partners, affiliates, and media buyers with high-performing advertisement services and continues to conquer the internet marketing industry, including web services and mobile applications. Today more than 200 partners trust Marlerino to generate their new leads. Broad experience in traffic management expands on the most complex verticals in almost any traffic source, focusing on TikTok, Facebook, and Google Ads. With its the team’s expertise, Marlerino has become an international media buying company with a confident position in the affiliate industry. A significant part of the business is the development team. It supports internal processes and launches apps to monetize partners' products. Over the full work period, more than 500 unique applications have been created. Ahead of market trends, Garmash, who has his eye on opening a media company based in Monaco, has created the department of Influencer Marketing, where he produces personal influencers who work with different products in the affiliate industry. The department has an entire cycle of the launch and production process, including video and podcast studio.
Kyle J. Hong
Category: Venture Capital
Industry: Founder of Alcove Investment Management
App you can’t live without: Google
Dream mentor: Peter Thiel
As a founding partner of a global seed stage venture capital fund, Kyle J. Hong has spent the last five years investing in and growing technology startups in various domains from seed to 10 figure valuations across the U.S. and emerging markets. Having been raised in more than five countries across three continents, Hong utilizes his diverse background and skill set to build, nurture, and exit leading venture-backed companies and funds. He is especially passionate about enabling technology innovators to leapfrog towards Industry 4.0 and building disruptive technologies from scratch, starting with zero legacy code.