Nineteen UCL alumni and students recognised in Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe

UCL Wilkins Building - UCL Wilkins Building (Credit: James Tye)
UCL Wilkins Building - UCL Wilkins Building (Credit: James Tye)

Nineteen UCL alumni have earned a place in Forbes’ annual Top 30 Under 30 list of leading entrepreneurs and creatives in Europe, recognised for their achievements in fields such as international journalism, artificial intelligence and child healthcare.

Now in its ninth year, the list has a perennial UCL alumni presence. The 19 individuals this year are spread across eight of the total 13 categories, ranging from Social Impact to Retail and Ecommerce.

UCL has a thriving entrepreneurial community creating start-ups that attract millions of pounds of investment, creating jobs and spearheading innovation that boosts the UK economy. In total, over 500 new student start-up businesses were founded at UCL between 2014 and 2023. Collectively they have raised over £360 million in investment and currently employ over 2000 people.

Professor Geraint Rees, UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) said: "I congratulate all the UCL alumni acknowledged in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list of this year. Their inclusion underscores the remarkable diversity of talent, creativity and innovation fostered at UCL, and their fantastic achievements resonate with UCL’s thriving entrepreneurial community. I wish them all’huge success in their future endeavours."

See the list below for a closer look at UCL’s 19 recognised alumni:

Social Impact

  • Wafia Zia (BA English, 2020) is a procedural advisor for the Committee on Standards, which heads the disciplinary process for members of Parliament. She has pushed for house-wide policies like stopping members who have been charged with sexual assault from coming onto the Parliamentary estate. Wafia said: "I’m honoured to be on this year’s Forbes 30 under 30 list for Social Impact.  As a Procedural Advisor in Parliament, maintaining standards in our elected politicians is pivotal to supporting our democratic institutions. In the last year, there has been an increased media attention on the scrutiny on the behaviour of members in Parliament and this has highlighted the importance of trust in our political system. I’m humbled and thankful to be recognised for supporting a thriving Parliamentary democracy."
  • James McBride (BSc Biomedical Sciences, 2016) co-founded We Are Social Enterprise Recruitment which helps unemployed people, returning-to-work parents, ex-military, and others secure jobs in the construction and civil engineering industries. Revenue reached $2 million in 2023.
  • Sara Berkai (BS Information Management for Business, 2018) founded the for-profit impact startup, Ambessa Play, which co-designs educational STEM kits such as DIY flashlights for children to build their own essential tools and learn through play. Sara attended UCL’s extracurricular entrepreneurship programmes at BaseKX, UCL’s dedicated entrepreneurship hub in King’s Cross, managed by UCL Innovation & Enterprise.
  • Luisa Neubauer (Geography & Political Science, 2017) is a climate activist and author best known for organising Fridays for Future alongside Greta Thunberg. She has led numerous climate strikes, notably protesting Siemens’ involvement in the proposed Australian hard coal mine Carmichael in 2020.
  • Flinn Dolman (MSc Computation Finance, 2018) went on from his studies at UCL to co-found Lawhive - a London-based company that combines AI with a network of human lawyers to provide legal help for a fraction of the cost of a law firm.

Retail & Ecommerce

  • Harry Bremner (MSc Tech Entrepreneurship, 2021) wrote a dissertation at UCL on the dog food industry in the UK and has since gone on to launch a subscription pet food brand - Tuggs. The business expects to hit $1.5 million in 2024 revenue and has raised over $1.7 million. As part of The Hatchery incubator programme at BaseKX, Harry received free office space as well as tailored support to grow his business.
  • Entrepreneur Jessica Rogers (BA German, 2017) began developing nutritious snacks using teff as a key ingredient after leaving UCL, eventually founding The Teff Creations Company, which sells teff cookies both online and at retailers such as Soho House.

Media & Marketing

  • CNN International correspondent Nada Bashir (BA Politics & Eastern European Studies, 2017) has covered international stories and amplified underrepresented voices to the 347 million worldwide households that tune into CNN International. She is CNN’s first staff reporter to wear a hijab on-air and in 2023, her reporting gained more than 19 million views on Instagram.

Science & Healthcare

  • Two of the founders of ambitious biotech company BoobyBiome, Sioned Jones (PhD Chemistry, Biophysics and Cell Biology, 2022) and Tara O’Driscoll (PhD Neuroscience, 2022) have worked closely with UCL as they continue their mission to improve babies’ health by creating a supplement that can replicate the health benefits of breast milk.

Art & Culture

  • Pam Evelyn (BFA Fine Art, 2019) is known for her mercurial paintings that blend abstraction and landscape. In 2023, Evelyn joined the leading contemporary art gallery Pace, where she showcased her debut exhibition "A Handful of Dust" in London.
  • After leaving UCL, Ed Faulkner (MSc Environment, Politics & Society, 2018) set out to create a "climate-positive" vodka. Today, his Sapling Spirits brand produces a range of sustainability-focused flavoured vodkas and gins, and is expecting $3.8 million in revenue in 2024.


  • Abdel Mahmoud (Medicine) and Zahid Mahmood (MSc Engineering Management) met at UCL and went on to start Co:Helm - an AI-powered co-pilot to help American medical workers deal with insurers’ prior authorisations in minutes, rather than hours.
  • In 2022, Jamie Dborin (PhD Quantum Technologies, current student) co-founded TitanML, a generative AI startup that streamlines the process of deploying private and secure large language model applications. TitanML raised over $2.8 million in 2023.


  • Clara Ricard (BSc Management Science) is a founding member of Transition, a European VC firm focused on climate tech startups. Clara specialises in Seed and Series A investments, while Transition itself has $124 million in assets under management.
  • Leonora Ross Skinner (BSc Cognitive Neuroscience, 2017) has become the youngest investment manager at Molten, a European VC fund that’s made some 300 venture capital injections into companies like Revolut and Trustpilot.
  • Diana Diaz Castro (MSc Transport and City Planning, 2018) now leads the UN Environment Programme’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative, representing the insurance industry in crucial conversations with governments and organisations.

Manufacturing & Industry

  • Natasha Jones (MS Public Policy Analysis, 2019) is co-founder and CEO at Metris - a company that aims to transform buildings into solar power plants and property owners into power suppliers. Since June 2023, the company has secured over $2 million in funding.

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