There are two types of youth.
The first are those who spend the prime years of their life scuttling between entry- to mid-level jobs. They have average Joes for role models, follow a beaten path, and rarely dream big. Perhaps, one day, they make it big and make millions. Or perhaps not.
And then there is the other type. The kind that have the spark to succeed at an early age. The type that are able to capitalize upon a single, brilliant idea and work hard to turn it into a flourishing business.
The mobile app development industry has quite a few of these young, dashing, risk-taking entrepreneurs, among whom are four exceptional developers who stand out from the crowd –
1. Brian Wong
2. Nick D’Alonsio
3. Robert Nay
4. Chad Mureta
But who are they, and how did they make their millions? Read on to find out more!
Born in 1991, Brian is a Canadian internet entrepreneur. In 2010, Brian along with his colleagues Courtney Guertin and Amadeus Demarzi, founded Kiip. Kiip is a mobile app rewards platform that lets companies and brands give real-world rewards for in-game achievements.
Kiip is active on more than 1,100 apps and on 75 million devices. It sends 500 million moments of achievement-based reward notices to customers on a monthly basis through its network. By mid-2012, Kiip had raised more than $15 million venture capital from companies like Hummer Winbald, Relay Ventures, Verizon Ventures, True Ventures, CrossLink Capital, and many others.
The app company has now built strategic partnerships with more than 40 brands including 1-800-Flowers, American Apparel, Amazon.com, Carl’s Jr., Best Buy, Disney, Pepsi, Victoria’s Secret, Playboy, and Vitamin Waters.
Kiip is now expanding beyond the games platform and into the fitness apps like Nexercise, MapMyRun, Gym-Pact, LoloFit, and many others. Kiip had announced a partnership with RunKeeper in August 2014, to reward the users’ workouts with fitness-based healthy rewards as well as sponsored song downloads.
2010 saw Brian as the second youngest company leader to receive a funding from a venture capital firm, the first spot taken by Nick D’Aloisio. He has spoken at various popular conferences like TEDx, and SXSW.
Born in November 1995, Nick is an English computer programmer and internet entrepreneur. He is known for his app Summly, which is a summarization and artificial intelligence technology developed with SRI International.
In March 2011, Nick created an iOS application called Trimmit, which used an analytical tool to condense the text content into 1000, 500, or 140-character summary text. This application caught the attention of Apple, who then featured it as a new noteworthy application on the App store.
The huge potential of Trimmit then attracted the attention of a billionaire who provided Nick with $300,000 in venture capital funding. Using the feedback that Nick had got from Trimmit, he completely revamped the application and in December 2011, re-launched it as Summly.
One of the youngest self-made millionaires ever, Nick is also the world’s youngest venture capital-backed entrepreneur. In 2011, he initially raised $200,000 in seed funding from the Hong Kong billionaire Sir Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Ventures for his app. Later in 2012, he went on to raise a good $1.23 million from various A-list celebrity investors like Rupert Murdoch, Ashton Kutcher, and Stephen Fry.
As of March 2013, the app was sold to Yahoo! For $30 million. He was also awarded the “Innovator of the Year” title by Wall Street Journal. Until October 2015, Nick led the Yahoo! News Digest operation which launched at CES 2014. It went on to win the 201 Apple Design Award at WWDC for its technological and product excellence. He then quit his job to concentrate more on his education at Hertford College, Oxford University, where he is studying computer science and philosophy.
Robert Nay was only 14 years old when he came up with the idea for Bubble Ball. Released in December 2010, Bubble Ball is a 72 level physics puzzle game that, in the first two weeks of release, got downloaded 2 million times from Apple iTunes.
The puzzles range from simple to extremely challenging. Each level gives you a range of pieces and tools that are given to complete the level. In addition to these tools, ramps and planks can also be created with a set of geometric pieces, catapults, accelerators, and gravity inverters, to get the ball through the finish line.
In 2011, Bubble Ball was chosen as the app of the week by Ansca Mobile. It still stands as #3 on “Ansca Mobile’s Hall of Fame”.
Three years after the app’s release, the game has been downloaded over 16 million times. The current versions of the application can be downloaded from both the Apple store and Google Play for free.
Robert continues to develop games under his own brand name, Nay Games.
Then a real estate agent, Chad Mureta was returning from a basketball game when an accident got him hospitalized and led him to coming up with the idea of the Fingerprint Security Pro app.
Chad noticed the doctors at the hospital looking through his phone and thought about security. During his spare time at the hospital, he began downloading apps, understanding what was making people download them and why they were successful.
He then sketched his idea on a piece of paper and sent it to a developer. With no background in technology or development, his only strengths lay in the business and creative side of things. Thus, he played to his strengths. 3 months after conceiving the idea, he submitted it to the app store. The first month brought in $12,000 which recouped his initial investment.
Two months after launching his own company, one of his apps averaged on a $30,000 per month cash flow. The income of the company later reached $120,000 in one month. In the next two years, he created and sold three app companies, which rank in millions.
Chad credits all of his success to having a game plan. In an interview with WHO? He says, “80% of business is the psychology of the business owner and 20% is the skillset. If you have the psychology, you can get the skillset.”