13. Rimas Buinevicius
Co-founder and CEO
“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor could’ve easily been the soundtrack for the wild ride Rimas Buinevicius went on after the dot-com crash. Sonic Foundry, the media software company he founded with Monty Schmidt in 1997, tanked. They steadied the ship, even forsaking their own salaries for a time, and reinvented the company. In 2003, they sold the software products division to Sony, which Buinevicius ran until 2011. “To this day, what I think about a lot is our Midwestern core ethic of working hard and seeing things through,” he says. Today’s he’s focused on “filling a void in the market that’s slowly fixing itself—access to capital,” using a unique, early-stage business accelerator model that deep-dives into companies on a longer-term basis. Madcelerator is backing several projects, including this kick-butt one: a wheelchair that you pull—not push—to propel yourself forward. Invented by wheelchair user Salim Nasser, the gear reconfiguration decreases the average user strokes by thirty-one percent, reduces injury and improves posture. Brilliant.