Alex Ljung
trailblazers 2013 alex ljung

Founded: 2008

Ljung and co-founder Eric Wahlforss created their user-generated audio site mostly out of self-interest. The two engineering students and amateur musicians wanted a platform to freely exchange their music and provide instant feedback. There was YouTube for sharing videos and Flickr for sharing pictures but nothing to share audio. "We were really frustrated that it was so hard to connect," says Ljung, 31. "Sound had been completely left out of the Web." They launched Berlin-based SoundCloud in 2008 for hobbyists and professional "sound creators" and went head-to-head with MySpace, which at the time was the preferred site for sharing music. SoundCloud's simple interface won the day, and the company has continued to innovate with products for smartphones and tablets. Indeed, a growing number of consumers are using SoundCloud to record and share audio from live events (think music festivals or even breaking news). Today the platform boasts more than 30 million users, including Beyoncé, 50 Cent, and Skrillex.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated February 08 2013 12:28 PM ET
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