Mendoza School of Business

Four Mendoza alumni included in Forbes ’30 Under 30′

Published: December 5, 2023 / Author: Olivia Poole

Five University of Notre Dame alumni have been recognized as Forbes 30 Under 30 recipients.

Forbes unveils its 30 Under 30 list each fall, spotlighting the 30 most accomplished individuals in the United States under the age of 30 in various industries. The list features emerging talent in 20 fields, including finance, science, health care, education, music, art, style, social impact and more.

The five honored Notre Dame alumni are:

Becca Blais (class of 2018): Bluebonnet Data

Blais is the co-founder of Bluebonnet Data, a Texas-based nonprofit whose work includes using public data to aid in voter registration, voter outreach, donor research and voting analysis.

The idea for Bluebonnet came when the company realized the need for a platform through which technologists and data scientists could contribute their services for civic causes and progressive political campaigns.

Blais holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and peace studies from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame.

Bill Carney and Max Towey (class of 2018): RocaNews

Inspired by their shared passion for entrepreneurship, Carney and Towey founded RocaNews during their freshman year at Notre Dame.

Frustrated with mainstream media’s negativity and extremism, the duo envisioned a news platform that is both trustworthy and enjoyable. RocaNews is dedicated to making staying informed about current affairs a fun experience for its subscribers. This has resulted in approximately 5 million followers across their company’s social media channels, including Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, and more than 200,000 newsletter subscribers.

The company officially launched in August 2020, with Towey as CEO and Carney as chairman. Leaving their jobs, they secured early funding through a pre-seed round, emphasizing their commitment by paying themselves minimal wages.

RocaNews has since secured $5.36 million in investments and recently introduced a news-gamifying app, which has attracted nearly 40,000 monthly active users.

Carney and Towey each hold a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.

Jack Markwalter (class of 2017) and Hodges Markwalter (class of 2018): VIVA Finance

Jack Markwalter found his life’s path through the nonprofit Jubilee Initiative for Financial Inclusion (JIFFI) during his time as an undergraduate at Notre Dame. Inspired by JIFFI’s impact, he later co-founded VIVA Finance with his brother Hodges, addressing the unmet need for affordable loans for those with poor credit.

VIVA Finance, founded in 2019, offers loans based on employment rather than credit, and repayment through payroll. The company grew and raised $16 million from investors such as the Acumen Fund and Captain Partners and expanded to 18 states.

VIVA’s mission is to be the go-to financial services provider for underserved consumers.

Jack and Hodges each hold a bachelor’s degrees in business administration from the Mendoza College of Business.