Brian Donohue ’11: A Rising Star in Silicon Valley
Leave it to a Stevens graduate to see the potential in a new innovation. For Brian Donohue ’11, this meant putting into our hands a tool to help us manage the overwhelming volume of internet content available to us daily.
Donohue’s work on the digital bookmarking tool Instapaper, and the app’s sale to Pinterest, earned him a spot on Forbes’ 2017 “30 Under 30: Media” list.
After graduating from Stevens with a degree in computer science, Donohue launched his first company with $250,000 in angel investment capital. That venture didn't survive, but the experience combined with his Stevens education kept Donohue moving forward.
“Two things I learned at Stevens — how to solve problems and how to learn. I was given the right tools, and that has been extremely valuable,” he says.
Donohue joined betaworks, a New York-based startup that owned Instapaper. He was promoted to CEO of the company, eventually guiding its 2018 acquisition by social media heavyweight Pinterest. After the acquisition, Donohue relocated to Pinterest’s headquarters in San Francisco, where he oversees product engineering, managing four teams with more than 50 people.
“When I was CEO, I had the freedom to come up with ideas and the power to develop them. But when you’re at a company with a thousand-plus people, you have to acquiesce these responsibilities,” he says.
Mindful of his own career path and youth, Donohue remains generous with his time, mentoring and managing apprentices and volunteering at local coding bootcamps.