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Alva Award

Who will be the next great serial inventor—possibly even the next Thomas Edison? Someone who can not only envision incredible ideas, but also lead them to the finish line? Great inventors—and great inventions—solve problems, address real needs, and make the world work better.

99U recognizes these world-changing creators with the Alva Award and invites them to share insights from their creative process at our annual conference.

Presented by Adobe


2013 Alva Winner
Sebastian Thrun

Sebastian Thrun is CEO of Udacity, a start-up focused on democratizing higher education. He is also a part-time Google Fellow and Research Professor at Stanford University. Thrun is known for his work at Google X, home to the Google Self Driving Car. He was elected into the National Academy of Engineering at Age 39, and started and sold two companies, after winning the DARPA Grand Challenge, a historical robot race. Fast Magazine named him the fifth smartest person in business; he’s on Vanity Fair‘s list of the New Establishment; Foreign Policy named him Global Thinker #4; his inventions have been featured as the best 50 inventions by Time Magazine, and one of his robots was named the top robot of all times by Wired Magazine.

Sebastian's 99U talk

From the Google Self Driving Car to Google Glass to the education start-up Udacity, Sebastian Thrun has led remarkable teams in the creation of products that will truly change the way the world works in the future.

Selection Committee