Ninja Innovation

The Instructors

After a year of trying unsuccessfully to teach themselves how to code using online tutorials and e-books, Neal Sales-Griffin, 25, and Michael McGee, 24, founded the Starter League (formerly Code Academy) in 2011. The 12-week program teaches aspiring programmers and Web designers how to turn their ideas into working Web applications and interactive prototypes. More than 500 students from 25 states and 15 countries have graduated from the program. This summer, Starter League will participate in an innovative teach-the-teacher partnership with the city of Chicago. It will teach Web development classes to teachers from select Chicago public schools.
–LaToya M. Smith

The Entertainer

Don’t call it a comeback, call it a startup. Boomdizzle Networks, co-founded by Grammy Award-winning entertainer LL Cool J, is a virtual recording studio that allows two musicians in different locations to collaborate in real time without experiencing latency issues. Sony found the software to be so cutting-edge that the company partnered with Boomdizzle to include the software in Sony VAIO E 14P series laptops. In 2012, the Sony/Boomdizzle Future Sounds bundle sold for $900 in 30 Sony Direct stores as well as, Fry’s, and a number of additional retail outlets. “Boomdizzle makes it easy for the next generation of great artists to come together, regardless of geography, and create the next big project,” says LL Cool J.  He used the software to create a few tracks on his newest album, Authentic, which will be released this spring.

The History Maker

Serial entrepreneur Clarence Wooten is founder and CEO of Arrived Inc., a consumer mobile startup. He has launched and operated five tech startups since founding his first, an architectural rendering and animation service company, Envision Designs, while in college. He also co-founded ImageCafé  in 1998 (acquired for $23 million by Network Solutions/VeriSign). Wooten founded Groupsite (formerly CollectiveX) in 2006 and will launch his newest venture,, this spring. Groupsite will be introducing a companion product this spring as well, called Roundtable.
–LaToya M. Smith

The e-Boutique

Making life easier for women on the go, Tracey Solomon and co-founder Katrina Carroll-Foster created Hoseanna, a site where busy women can sign up for monthly or quarterly deliveries of must-have pantyhose, trouser socks, leggings, and shape wear. Delivering brands such as Berkshire, Hue, and Hanes to your doorstep, the nearly 2-year-old company has more than 1,000 customers.
“We recognize that pantyhose can be a nuisance for women to buy, so we’ve brought together top-selling brands under one house to make it easy for women to get the hosiery they need,” says New York City-based Solomon.
–Janel Martinez