CEO at 21: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Young Founders

A session at SXSW Interactive 2013

Tuesday 12th March, 2013

11:00am to 12:00pm (CST)

At an age when most college grads are happily taking orders on the bottommost corporate rung, CEOs Zach Sims and Nikhil Sethi (22 and 23 years-old, respectively) are leading fast growing businesses. Sims heads Codecademy, an interactive website that trains users in software programming, while Sethi runs Adaptly, a company that helps brands advertise across social media. With limited experience, these young entrepreneurs are successfully navigating the enormous challenges of building a business: raising capital, hiring and managing team members, closing partnerships and dealing with the press. In this panel, moderator J.J. Colao, a 25 year-old Forbes magazine reporter covering entrepreneurs, speaks with Sims and Sethi about their experiences running top-tier startups and their advice for the next crop of young founders.

About the speakers

This person is speaking at this event.
J.J. Colao

Reporter, Forbes

J.J. Colao writes about entrepreneurs and startups for Forbes. Before becoming a journalist he spent a year toiling in startup obscurity at Squidjob.com.

This person is speaking at this event.
Nikhil Sethi

CEO, Adaptly

Nikhil Sethi is the Co-founder and CEO of Adaptly, a platform that is changing the way brands increase engagement on social networks by helping them harness the unique value of each social network. Prior to Adaptly, Sethi co-founded Blurtt, which allows users to make, upload and send real postcards to friends around the world. Sethi has previously worked at HBO as well as True Ventures in San Francisco. Sethi is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he studied electrical engineering and law. Sethi is the youngest advisory board member of the NUvention Web, the web entrepreneurship program at his alma mater Northwestern University. Originally from the Bay Area, Sethi currently lives in New York.

This person is speaking at this event.
Adam Goldstein

CEO, Hipmunk

Next session in Salon D

12:30pm Will Crowdfunding for Businesses Succeed or Fail? by Chance Barnett

These speakers at other events

4 attendees

  • adam goldstein
  • Darby Frey
  • J.J. Colao
  • Nikhil Sethi

1 tracker

  • Chris Sparks

Sign in to add slides, notes or videos to this session

Sign in to track this session

Tell your friends!


Time 11:00am12:00pm CST

Date Tue 12th March 2013


Salon D, Hilton Austin Downtown

Session type

Solo / Dual / Panel

Session Hash Tag


Short URL


View the schedule



See something wrong?

Report an issue with this session