- They include FTC chair Lina Khan, Clubhouse co-founder Rohan Seth, and Young America’s Foundation Vice President and director Raj Kannappan.
Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan, Clubhouse co-founder Rohan Seth, and Young America’s Foundation Vice President and director Raj Kannappan are among Fortune’s annual ’40 Under 40.’ The list highlights the rising entrepreneurs, influencers, creators, and executives “that have shaped the global pandemic experience—and are paving the way for what comes next.” It focuses “on the myriad ways our lives have changed in the COVID-era—from how we work, to how we eat, to how we invest. It’s full of discoveries, and, as always, jam-packed with women you should know.”
Lina Khan, 32. first rose to national prominence in 2017, when, as a 28-year-old Yale Law student, she wrote a groundbreaking 98-page article about Amazon’s anticompetitive behavior for The Yale Law Journal. The paper was picked up and widely read, her first major brush with fame. She soon became the golden child of the antitrust revolution, working alongside senators like Elizabeth Warren to bring tech CEOs to testify on their practices.
This June, the Pakistani American was confirmed to the FTC with a 69-28 vote, symbolizing the consensus in both the parties of the need to rein in the behemoths in the Silicon Valley.
Khan, who is an associate professor at Columbia Law School, becomes one of the youngest commissioners in the FTC’s history. She had earlier apprenticed as a legal advisor to FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra.
Fortune says Khan, “the youngest and arguably most progressive head of the Federal Trade Commission in the agency’s 106-year history,” is determined to make big changes. “As the leader of an agency tasked with the enforcement of antitrust law and consumer protection, Khan is set to act as the de facto face of coordinated efforts by the White House and Congress to rein in Big Tech, paving the way to the first big changes in antitrust law since Ronald Reagan was President.”
Khan was born in London to Pakistani parents and immigrated to the United States when she was 11. She served as editor of her student newspaper at Williams before joining New America, where she began her career in antitrust research.
Fortune says Rohan Seth, 37, “has been going nonstop since early 2020 when he co-founded Clubhouse, a social media startup that’s a cross between talk radio and a group chat.” When the coronavirus pandemic forced people to stay home, the service exploded in popularity., and millions downloaded the app. As an engineering lead at Clubhouse, Seth is responsible for ensuring the app can handle the huge influx of users.
Along with working to make Clubhouse more inclusive and accessible, Seth created Lydian Accelerator, a non-profit group for genetic treatment, inspired by his baby daughter, Lydia Niru Seth. He started Lydian Accelerator in 2019, after his daughter was born with a critical mutation gene called KCNQ2. Seth is married to Jennifer Seth, a Google employee. Lydian Accelerator’s goal is to uncover the medical treatments that traditional pharmaceutical giants may ignore because of their rarity. Taking cues from the tech industry, the accelerator aims to open-source and make free the genetic data, processes, and protocols necessary to develop potentially game-changing personalized treatments.
As director of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise at Young America’s Foundation (YAF), Raj Kannappan, 30, is responsible for promoting conservative free-market principles among college students around the country. “With a presence on more than 2,000 college and high school campuses, and nearly $100 million in assets, the group has been quietly funding and supporting campus Republican groups, bringing speakers to colleges, and promoting messages of fiscal and social conservatism historically tied to President Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley,” says Fortune.
Kannappan and YAF are also exerting their influence on the legal system. “The group has been filing lawsuits against colleges that bar right-wing speakers from campus,” the magazine notes. A recent lawsuit against the University of Florida, which repeatedly refused to use school funds to pay speaker fees for controversial Republicans, resulted in the university settling with conservative students for $66,000 and changing its free-speech rules.