19. Victoria Ransom, Michael Lazerow (Tie)
40u40 main mike lazerow victoria ransom
Lazerow (left) and Ransom (right)

Victoria Ransom
Age: 36
Co-founder and CEO, Wildfire

A former financial analyst who quit to find her inner entrepreneur, Ransom had already started up an adventure travel company and a software company by the time she and fiance Alain Chuard created Wildfire in 2008 to help businesses market across social media platforms. It caught on like, ahem, wildfire. In 2011 the firm's revenue tripled; this year its employee count reached close to 400, and it opened offices in eight cities around the world, including Singapore and Paris. Though Ransom wasn't looking to sell, Wildfire's rapid growth caught Google's eye. The search giant acquired Wildfire for some $400 million in August. Ransom plans to stick around for the next few years, but says she already feels that entrepreneurial itch.

Up next: A not-for-profit.


Michael Lazerow
Age: 38
Co-founder and former CEO, Buddy Media

To hear Lazerow tell it, Buddy Media wasn't looking for a buyer for his marketing software startup until Marc Benioff swooped in. Some $750 million later, Lazerow has become the latest successful entrepreneur to join the Salesforce juggernaut. Lazerow, who visited Benioff at his home in Hawaii in August, says the two see eye to eye on pretty much everything. Lazerow is merging his Buddy Media team with the staff of another recent acquisition, Radian6, to create a new marketing cloud division of the company, which he will lead as chief marketing officer. "I've been given a responsibility to push the whole company forward and get it out of its own way," Lazerow says. Benioff has wasted no time propelling his newest executive forward: Lazerow gave the marketing cloud keynote address at Salesforce's massive Dreamforce 2012 conference last month in front of 80,000 attendees.

Viral views: Lazerow posted a video explaining why he sold, expounding on his philosophy of living without fear following several major heart scares. It went viral, earning over 150,000 views.

--Alex Konrad

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated October 17 2012 05:11 PM ET
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