Daniel Singer is 14 years old and already lords over a mini tech empire that landed him $US200,000 of seed funding, two patents, five employees, and some 3.1 million users.
He’s the creator of a website called YouTell, launched in 2012 when he was a mere 12 years old. It was built with the help of one of his dad’s friends, a programmer, who still works with Singer. And while his parents helped with the business side, the idea was all his. Neither of Singer’s parents are programmers. His dad is a movie producer, Singer told Business Insider.
YouTell lets Facebook friends talk anonymously to each other. It’s tagline is “Puts brutal honesty to the test by those that know you best.”
The site has become popular with teens and has grown to 3 million users, Singer says. The tech behind it was so unique, Singer landed himself two patents on it, his PR representative tells us. (Yes, this 14-year-old has a PR agency.) The patents are held jointly by Singer and his dad.
And all of that helped land the kid $US200,000 of seed money in November from Brazillian VC ArpexCapital.
With the funds, the team created an iOS app called Backdoor in December, which lets people send anonymous text messages or anonymous instant messages to Facebook and Google+ friends. Backdoor added a twist: it includes clues about who sent the message so the person getting them can do some sleuthing and figure it out.
That app quickly ramped up to about 100,000 users, Singer says. On Tuesday, Singer launched an Android version, called Backchat. He’s now named his company Backchat as well.
Business Insider: How did you come by an investment from a Brazillian-based VC?
Daniel Singer: I got an email from one of the partners in October saying, “I really like what you’re doing. We have two other young entrepreneur working on their startup will you talk to them?” We got on Skype call and then he suggested I meet Ted Rogers, the U.S. partner. [A month later, Arpex invested.]
BI: How big is the company now?
DS: Including me and my dad, a team of six. We have two full time employees, plus me and my dad and two helping on part-time basis.
BI: Is your dad the boss of the company?
DS: Actually, I do the employee managment. But we’re more of a team effot. When we have a new feature, we all meet and talk it out and start building it.
BI: What are your plans for the future?
DS: I really like entrepreneurship. It’s a way to have a direct impact on the world. Backchat is really in an exciting and hot space. I definitely hope that Backchat lasts a 100 years. I know that’s really ambitious.