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Entrepreneur: Jeff Hammerbacher, 27
Funding: $11 million from Accel Partners, Greylock Partners, and angel investors that include Gideon Yu and Caterina Fake
A friend of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's at Harvard, Jeff Hammerbacher was recruited away from Bear Stearns to assemble a Facebook team to analyze data about users' behavior on the site. To do that, he used the open-source cloud computing software called Hadoop. Now Hammerbacher is a co-founder, vice-president of products, and chief scientist at Cloudera, which sells technical consulting and software tools to help companies use Hadoop to analyze large amounts of data. Cloudera co-founder Christophe Bisciglia was one of Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs of 2009. Cloudera's customers include Netflix, Samsung, ComScore, and LinkedIn.
Toughest decision: Changing Cloudera's business model to make it into a software vendor. "Initially [our model] was 'ship your data to us and let us manage it,' " Hammerbacher says. "It made a lot more sense to make the pivot and become a software vendor."