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MIT Technology Review

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  • Lorraine Wheeler

    Age:
    33

    Lorraine Wheeler is forever moving on to the next big thing. As a 22-year-old software engineer at GE Medical Systems, she devised a process to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of magnetic-resonance imaging. Her patented innovation helped clarify results for doctors who rely on such images to diagnose disease. Then, with a mere $5,000, the 27-year-old Wheeler founded Actual software above a pizza shop in Andover, MA, and created MultiMail, one of the first e-mail programs for Palm handhelds. With MultiMail’s, business travelers could use their personal digital assistants to send and receive e-mail on the road. Upon its release in 1998, MultiMail’s free version was downloaded 1,000 times per hour, and the full-featured version was so successful that Palm eventually bought Actual Software for $4 million. In 2002, Wheeler founded Botzam. The startup , housed in more comfortable commercial digs in North Billerica, MA, is developing new applications, including software that lets users back up their handheld data on removable storage cards. “I’m interested in pure innovation,” Wheeler says. “I follow the market wherever it moves.”