paidContent Names Inaugural ‘Fresh Faces in Tech: 10 Kid Entrepreneurs to Watch’

June 1, 2009

Company of #1 teen entrepreneur Catherine Cook already generates more than $10 million in annual revenue

Could the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Michael Dell be among them?

NEW YORK, June 1 /PRNewswire/ — Digital media news and analysis site paidContent today named 10 young entrepreneurs to its first list of “Fresh Faces in Tech: 10 Kid Entrepreneurs to Watch.” Spanning from social media to mobile applications to green technology, some of the companies created by this new generation of leaders are generating more than $1 million in revenues per year. The list was announced today during the EconAffinity: Capitalizing on User Engagement conference.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090601/NY25835-a )

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090601/NY25835-b )

“We’re seeing the largest shift in technology in a generation and it is changing business forever,” said Ernie Sander, Managing Editor of ContentNext Media’s four editorial properties. “The entrepreneurial drive in these young adults is remarkable and comes at a time when traditional barriers to starting a technology-based business are falling rapidly. Thanks to the open-source movement, none of these executives needed the approval of an entrenched market leader, or three million people to sign up as users, or a large round of seed funding.”

The 10 enterprising teens — one only 15 years old and none yet of legal drinking age — draw on anything and everything for business ideas, and several are already serial entrepreneurs.

  1. Catherine Cook, 19 – MyYearbook.com
  2. Ashley Qualls, 18 – Whateverlife.com
  3. Kayvon Beykpour, 20 – MobilEdu
  4. Ben Gulak, 19 – Uno
  5. Lucas Cruikshank, 15 – FEE Entertainment
  6. Jake Jarvis, 17 – Developer
  7. Jessica Mah, 18 – InternshipIN, Indinero
  8. Ashton and Ryan Clark, 20 – Dynamik Duo
  9. Daniel Brusilovsky, 16 – Teens in Tech
  10. Jenny Lui and Kevin Modzelewski, 20 – Eclectyk

Descriptions of each of the 10 Fresh Faces in Tech are available at www.paidcontent.org. Entrepreneurs were included based on a range of factors, including financial performance of their companies, size of the potential market for their ideas, and uniqueness of their concepts. Of course, these young entrepreneurs continue on a path set famously in previous generations by a then 19-year-old Bill Gates with Microsoft and a then 19-year-old Michael Dell with Dell Computer.

“The world has changed permanently for technology innovators,” continued Sander. “If previous generations of tech entrepreneurs were all about the computer, the current crop of innovators can draw on everything from mobile phones to social networks to user-generated sites for business foundations. We look forward to sharing this list each year and reporting on the ups and downs of our ‘Fresh Faces in Tech’ as they go forward.”

#1 Young Entrepreneur Already Sees $10m in Annual Revenues

MyYearbook.com, the brainchild of Catherine Cook, a 19-year-old New Jersey resident, was launched during her spring break. Hatched with the help of brother David and preliminary funding from her brother Geoff, the interactive digital yearbook now has more than 9.8 million unique visitors a month worldwide and raked in more than $10 million in sales last year. Besides advertising revenue from major brands such as Neutrogena and Disney, the fast-growing social network has built interest around its “lunch money” program. Here, users pay $10 to get $1 million in MyYearbook money to buy virtual gifts for friends or finance assorted acts of philanthropy such as sending books to Africa, saving the rainforest or buying carbon offsets. “The best after-school job ever” is now backed by two venture capital firms and a full-time staff.

Armed with a video camera and a fictional character named “Fred Figglehorn,” the youngest innovator on the list is 15-year old Lucas Cruikshank of FEE Entertainment. The comical Fred videos — 38 of them so far, made over three “seasons” — began appearing on YouTube in April of 2008. The Fred channel has become the number-one most subscribed channel on YouTube and videos chronicling the dysfunctional life of a kid with “anger management issues” have been viewed 285 million times so far. The skyrocketing playcounts generate tens of thousands of dollars a month, making the young Nebraskan the highest-earning partner in YouTube’s ad-sharing program. Among Lucas’ sponsors: Nintendo and 20th Century Fox. Latest news: a merchandising deal to sell licensed Fred merchandise.

Ever seen a zero-emissions cycle pop a wheelie? At 19, Ben Gulak, ranking fourth, is a Canadian-born freshman at MIT. Ben created the Uno — an eco-friendly, electric-power motorcycle following a family trip to China where he witnessed smog pollution caused by heavy use of small motor vehicles. Modifying the frame of a Yamaha R1 and using the lean steering concept of the Segway PT, the Uno is controlled by the forward motion of the rider shifting weight over the center of gravity as the wheels are side-by-side just an inch apart and directly under the rider. The invention has lured a number of angel investors and a full team of engineers is now working on a second prototype, which is due in November.

About paidContent.org

paidContent.org is an award-winning site covering the business of digital media. Written by professional journalists for executives who need to stay on top of news in the online, technology, content and application sectors, the site covers company news (including mergers and acquisitions), offers analysis and commentary, reports on funding and executive moves, and often breaks stories ahead of more traditional news sources. paidContent.org is constantly updated and offers additional content including job postings, archived stories, financial data and reader comments.

About ContentNext Media, Inc.

ContentNext Media, Inc., a Guardian News & Media company based in New York City and Santa Monica, California, covers the business of digital media. The company operates paidContent.org, mocoNews.net, contentSutra.com and paidContent:UK. Founded by noted journalist Rafat Ali in 2002, the company’s news sites chronicle the economic evolution of digital content that is shaping the future of the media, information and entertainment industries. The company also operates a paid research division and conducts exclusive industry events. Our belief is that in the near future, all media will be digital media, and we are helping define sustainable business models and innovation within this sector. ContentNext Media is online at http://www.contentnext.com.

SOURCE ContentNext Media

Source: newswire

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