Hilary McQuaide: The Innovation 50

Director of communications, Yik Yak

As an analyst for a venture capital firm, Hilary McQuaide used to hear pitches from startups trying to reinvent and create new industries. Now she helps those Silicon Valley upstarts tell their story to various audiences, including potential investors. First, she spent almost two-and-a-half years as communications lead with digital storage platform Dropbox. Then, in March, she started at much-buzzed-about Yik Yak.

Based in Atlanta, Yik Yak is a location-based social messaging app available to about 1,500 college campuses in the US and a handful in the UK, Australia, and Canada. With the $62 million Yik Yik raised in a recent round of financing, it hopes to expand internationally and among post-grad users. But the company does face significant challenges: increased competition from Twitter, which has launched a location-based feature, and criticism for breeding cyber-bullying. It is a hot-button issue McQuaide has actively communicated on since joining the company.

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