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12 Year Old Gets $6.5M for Gaming Company

samzenpus posted about 7 years ago | from the that's-a-lot-of-candy dept.

Businesses 180

Bayscribe writes "A Silicon Valley company co-founded by a 12-year-old has just raised $6.5 million in venture capital. PlaySpan, based in Santa Clara, Calif. says it offers game publishers a technology that lets users make payments and shop for other items. It calls itself the first "publisher-sponsored in-game commerce network." Arjun Mehta, a 6th grader, says on his Web site that he is passionate about software that can make the game experience more "rewarding," and that he started the company last year in his garage. He paid for it from earnings made from selling online game items he won."

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bubble 2.0 (5, Funny)

wwmedia (950346) | about 7 years ago | (#20678549)

i smell another dot com bubble bursting

Re:bubble 2.0 (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#20678573)

*sniff* Oh, ok. I already thought someone had something reeeeally bad for lunch.

Incorrect linkage (4, Informative)

asliarun (636603) | about 7 years ago | (#20678597)

The linkage in the article is incorrect. The linked article talks about a startup (Elementeo) founded by a 13 year old kid named Anshul Samar, and NOT about PlaySpan, supposedly founded by 12 year old named Arjun Mehta.

Sloppy.

Re:Incorrect linkage (5, Funny)

ThirdPrize (938147) | about 7 years ago | (#20678805)

If the editors don't even RTFAs before posting them, why shoud we? ;)

Re:Incorrect linkage (5, Informative)

jettawu (1030820) | about 7 years ago | (#20679547)

a quick search for PlaySpan turned up a few links: techcrunch.com [techcrunch.com] and Yahoo Biz [yahoo.com]

Re:bubble 2.0 (4, Interesting)

discord5 (798235) | about 7 years ago | (#20678629)

i smell another dot com bubble bursting

Nope, those are the diapers these babies are still wearing.

Who invests money in 12 year olds? Who is so insane to do such a thing? Sure, 12 year olds can be bright, talented and even gifted, but I wouldn't trust a 12 year old with 6.5M $, nor his 11 year old vice-president of sales sister for that matter, to make correct business decisions.

I think it's time I try to sell this kid my 6.5M matchbox car. It's a classic collectors item, worth meeeeellions on ebay.

Re:bubble 2.0 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20678755)

We can all see you're so pissed off that a 12-years old kid can have this kind of money at his disposal while you, who think of yourself as a big computer genius, have to flip burgers at the local MacDonalds because your skills aren't so hot or required.

Does it hurt, loserboy? This must be the ultimate humiliation for you. It's one thing to be beaten up and have you face shit upon by kids of your age, but being dragged through the mud by a 12-years old kid!

Oh, the horror! Oh, the humiliation! "Why, oh why couldn't have been ME?" we hear you crying. But it is not so, fortune has not graced you. You are locked into a minimum wage job, which will be for life because you have no marketable skills whatsoever.

You bet all of it on computers, and it turned out there were a lot of people better than you. Plenty of choice. You are a nobody among thousands and thousands of geeks.

Cry, now. Cry, little nerd. Think of that kid out there who can have all of the things you will never have. Write rants and raves on Slashdot, your nostrils full of the smell of frying chips, which you will never be able to wash away.

How can you cope with it? Why do you keep on living? It's not getting any better. Have you considered suicide?

Re:bubble 2.0 (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 7 years ago | (#20678801)

Project much?

-jcr

Re:bubble 2.0 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20679019)

No, just reading minds and smelling losers.

Re:bubble 2.0 (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 7 years ago | (#20679965)

A bit - how much of that $6.5M can be cashed now?

Re:bubble 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20679429)

Ok psycho, calm down. Way to not get the conversation. No one is pissed off the kid has all kind of money at his disposal. Pretty sure he's not the only 12 year old with wealthy parents.

How about profiling a 12 year CEO who started a multi million dollar business without the safety net of douchebag parents/family members who use their kids as marketing tools?

Re:bubble 2.0 (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 7 years ago | (#20678631)

From the summary it reads like he created an in-game way to buy items.
I'm pretty sure I've seen this before (i.e. Second Life) and no company worth it's salt would have any trouble implementing this themselves.

Yeah, but... (1)

avirrey (972127) | about 7 years ago | (#20679867)

I bet the kid patented it when he was 4 years old! lol...

--
X's and O's for all my foes.

Re:bubble 2.0 (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 7 years ago | (#20678935)

I smell someone with a dad in the industry who gave him access to all the necessary advantages.

These wonder-kids never spring up out of trailer parks where mom and dad flip burgers and the most advanced high-tech device they own is a VCR.

Re:bubble 2.0 (2, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | about 7 years ago | (#20679631)

You know what? I think you're right. This totally makes sense. Dad has high-powered connections -- doctors, lawyers, bankers -- none of whom understand technology. Like every parent, he keeps telling them over and over again how his son is a genius on the computer. Finally they witness some small demonstration of his supposed genius -- the ability to pay for items in a game -- and either they think it's cute, until they hear his pie-in-the-sky dreams of how he could take over the internet, OR they immediately see it as a way to monetize MMORPGs. Then they whip out their checkbooks.

Re:bubble 2.0 (4, Funny)

Otter (3800) | about 7 years ago | (#20679707)

Nonsense! The OLPC people have explained very clearly how software they don't have time to implement themselves will be written for them by kids who have never seen a light bulb before.

Re:bubble 2.0 (2, Funny)

alienzed (732782) | about 7 years ago | (#20680165)

Unless he finally managed to get rid of that flashing 12:00. It takes a genius to figure those V.C.R.'s out.

slashdot hates niggers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20678553)

can you blame them?

His future plans (5, Funny)

CRCulver (715279) | about 7 years ago | (#20678555)

From the article:

Mehta said that he now intended to drop out of the sixth grade. "School is great, but now that I've got a multi-million dollar company, I need to concentrate on that. After all, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did it. Sixth grade will still be there waiting for me in a few years. Now excuse me while I ask my mom to drive me in my new Ferrari to the mall."

Re:His future plans (4, Funny)

FinchWorld (845331) | about 7 years ago | (#20678565)

Now excuse me while I ask my mom to drive me in my new Ferrari to the mall.

Finally! A Slashdot story we can all relate to!

Re:His future plans (4, Funny)

value_added (719364) | about 7 years ago | (#20678809)

Finally! A Slashdot story we can all relate to!

Even better ...

he started the company last year in his garage. He paid for it from earnings made from selling online game items he won."
Dunno about you, but I've always dreamed of moving out of the basement and buying my own garage.

Aren't dangling participles fun? ;-)

Re:His future plans (1)

trashyspaceman (622868) | about 7 years ago | (#20679255)

I could only dream of a basement, I lived in the corridor! You had it lucky!

Re:His future plans (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#20678987)

Is that legal? In the UK, you are required to receive full time education until you are 16 (either in a school or at home). You are also not allowed to work more than a small number of hours a week, although being a CEO probably wouldn't be a problem if you didn't count time spent on the golf course as work.

Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dropped out of university. There is a huge difference between doing that and dropping out of school.

Re:His future plans (4, Funny)

CRCulver (715279) | about 7 years ago | (#20679035)

*whoosh*

Re:His future plans (1, Funny)

RasputinAXP (12807) | about 7 years ago | (#20679627)

I always thought it was more of a Doppler-effect "neeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEOWWWWWWWWWWWWWwwwwww" sound.

Re:His future plans (1)

that IT girl (864406) | about 7 years ago | (#20679471)

"Now excuse me while I ask my mom to drive me in my new Ferrari to the mall."

Cocky little thing, eh? Guess he forgot to finish the sentence with "...so I can scope out all the hot prepubescent chicks in braces wearing Limited Too."

Re:His future plans (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20679597)

So it seems he and I have something in common.

Re:His future plans (0)

TheRistoman (1062158) | about 7 years ago | (#20680155)

[i]Now excuse me while I ask my mom to drive me in my new Ferrari to the mall.[/i] Wow, such keen business sense! Buying a $350K car 4 years before he can even get a license (let alone drive stick), and as his first tangible expense! Certainly beats investing the resulting $3.2M (post-taxes) in 30-year treasury bonds and live off of the interest for the rest of his life! In fact, did he walk into the dealer in his tiny little suit and tie to seal the deal with a suitcase full of cash? What's next, an island off of Micronesia? If this is how he starts out, he'll be broke by the time he realizes he should've gone to college and study economics. The hardest part about money is not making it, but spending it wisely. That is, if he even saw a penny...

dupe (1)

the_unknown_soldier (675161) | about 7 years ago | (#20678563)

Not only is this story almost certainly a dupe, it's also over 4 months old.

Re:dupe (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#20678583)

Not only is this story almost certainly a dupe, it's also over 4 months old.

In other words, could someone check whether that company still exists?

Re:dupe (0, Offtopic)

gusmao (712388) | about 7 years ago | (#20678943)

I doubt that a company founded by someone so young that is still a virgin could last for long. Wait, what am I talking about, this is slashdot, everybody is still virgin around here...

Sorry guys!

Re:dupe (1)

Luke Dawson (956412) | about 7 years ago | (#20678783)

You must be new here ;)

Re:dupe (1, Troll)

asd-Strom (792539) | about 7 years ago | (#20678905)

You must be new here.

That joke requires you to have a lower userid than the parent.

Re:dupe (1)

Luke Dawson (956412) | about 7 years ago | (#20679039)

Your irony detector must be at the dry cleaners.

Re:dupe (2, Funny)

troc (3606) | about 7 years ago | (#20679205)

I remember when this was all fields..... :)

Re:dupe (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#20679321)

Fields? Huh. I remember when this was all molten rock and hadn't even finished cooling yet! Now you kids get off of my lawn!

Re:dupe (4, Funny)

Puff of Logic (895805) | about 7 years ago | (#20679659)

Fields? Huh. I remember when this was all molten rock and hadn't even finished cooling yet! Now you kids get off of my lawn!
Molten rock? Luxury! We used to have to bring our own interstellar dust in a bucket and hope that we could pile up enough to have it hold together under its own gravity!

fun or science? (1)

gigantu' (1156191) | about 7 years ago | (#20678571)

Have a feeling there is a need for more science injected in education. Anyway, good luck to the 13 years old CEO, maybe he is lucky and retires by 14. And then the fun begins. :)

riight. (5, Funny)

apodyopsis (1048476) | about 7 years ago | (#20678575)

dupe or not - that kid has just got to be an insufferable, annoying little snot.

a bit like "doogie howser MD" only real, remember that?

Re:riight. (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 7 years ago | (#20678815)

Until and unless you meet the kid, your assumptions about his character are nothing but projections of your jealousy.

I say, good for him.

Now the VC, on the other hand, is probably out of his mind.

-jcr

Re:riight. (3, Funny)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | about 7 years ago | (#20679263)

Until and unless you meet the kid, your assumptions about his character are nothing but projections of your jealousy. ... Now the VC, on the other hand, is probably out of his mind.

Have you met the venture capitalists?

Re:riight. (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 7 years ago | (#20679601)

Have you met the venture capitalists?

Not this particular bunch, but I've met enough VCs to hold them in low regard in general.

-jcr

Re:riight. (2, Insightful)

GeckoX (259575) | about 7 years ago | (#20679853)

And I've met enough 12 year olds to know this is not something ANY 12 year old I've ever met could handle.

Yet you flog one person for suggesting that, but flip when the discussion turns to the VC's...why the hypocrisy? Your original point was a good one, having not met the kid, lets not judge him...but you'd best carry that through or you start coming off as an ass.

Re:riight. (1)

jcr (53032) | about 7 years ago | (#20679991)

I'm willing to give 12 year-olds the benefit of the doubt, and I'm not willing to do likewise for VCs, because of the experiences I've had with each group of people. Clear enough?

-jcr

Re:riight. (1)

GeckoX (259575) | about 7 years ago | (#20680013)

Yes, your hypocrisy is very clear indeed.

Look, I get your point, and you'd be in the clear if you hadn't gotten up on a high horse about it...but you did, and now you come off as a hypocrite. Clear enough?

Re:riight. (1)

benzapp (464105) | about 7 years ago | (#20679449)

No 12-year old in the world has the experience and judgment to effectively management that kind of money. I could care less how brilliant he is.

There is also the issue of how he has yet to reach the age of majority. Not only does he lack experience, he is not legally responsible for his actions.

Re:riight. (2, Funny)

navygeek (1044768) | about 7 years ago | (#20679481)

I could care less how brilliant he is.

So you do, in fact, care how brilliant he is, yes?

Re:riight. (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about 7 years ago | (#20680177)

Does anyone have the VC guy's contact info? I have some ocean front land on the Sea of Tranquility on the moon I'd like to sell him.

Re:riight. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20678921)

dirty minorities

Re:riight. (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | about 7 years ago | (#20679003)

Jealous much?

Re:riight. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20679097)

Thanks for mentioning that. That made me think of neil patrick harris and now I have to watch Harold and Kumar go to White Castle.

Confused (2, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 7 years ago | (#20678603)

Is it just me or the summary bears no relation to the article it links to. The article talks about this kid inventing a board game, not "a technology that lets users make payments and shop for other items".

Re:Confused (1)

ROMRIX (912502) | about 7 years ago | (#20679571)

Is it just me or the summary bears no relation to the article it links to. The article talks about this kid inventing a board game, not "a technology that lets users make payments and shop for other items".

Now that it's processed through the evaporator the cheese can be wrapped in cloth and set aside for several months to age.

misleading title (1)

rpillala (583965) | about 7 years ago | (#20678609)

I thought the kid had sold his company for $6.5m

It's not really the kid running the company. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20678613)

The actual article is here [venturebeat.com] .

Apparently the kid isn't an actual co-founder, nor the CEO. It's his father running everything, the kid is just a sensationalist marketing tool.

Really, I highly doubt these kids even know a tiny fraction about the technical aspects of what they're selling or how it's done. They'll get lots of money for sure, and also learn a whole lot along the way, but they're definitely not the brains or management behind the operation at the moment.

Re:It's not really the kid running the company. (2)

sound+vision (884283) | about 7 years ago | (#20678939)

I suspected as much.

Kids today grow up so fast (5, Funny)

Nymz (905908) | about 7 years ago | (#20678621)

This one turned 13 before I got to the article.

Lame (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | about 7 years ago | (#20678625)

Link and Blurb about two very different things.

I wonder... (4, Funny)

farkus888 (1103903) | about 7 years ago | (#20678627)

I wonder if this is what my mom thought I could have been doing with my time when she kept yelling at me for wasting all my time touching myself when I was 12?

I'll have to ask her sometime.

Re:I wonder... (1)

EllF (205050) | about 7 years ago | (#20678829)

Jealousy isn't quite so rational. (zing!)

Re:I wonder... (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20679843)

I wonder if this is what my mom thought I could have been doing with my time when she kept yelling at me for wasting all my time touching myself when I was 12?

I'll have to ask her sometime.
All I have to say is "thank God there weren't webcams back then." Ah, yes, that creepy line between capitalism and child abuse.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20679899)

I wonder if this is what my mom thinks I should be doing with my time when she keeps yelling at me for wasting all my time touching myself?

I'll have to ask her sometime.


fixed that for ya

The correct link.. (5, Informative)

slashmojo (818930) | about 7 years ago | (#20678667)

Makes slightly more sense with the correct link..

http://venturebeat.com/2007/09/19/playspan-run-12-year-old-ceo-gets-65m-in-venture-capital/ [venturebeat.com]

Which is not to say that investing $6.5M in a company run by a 12yo makes much sense but stranger things have happened at sea.. or so they say.

Re:The correct link.. (2, Interesting)

drspliff (652992) | about 7 years ago | (#20678757)

I've yet to meet a 12 year old that was able to manage anything real-world, like a company involving millions of dollars of VC.

I was around the same age during (first) the .com bubble and came up with a few good ideas (some very web 2.0 ideas, like automatic bookmark uploading, sharing & sorting to keep your bookmarks online and share them with your friends or subscribe to other people's bookmarks or topics). However I never got any of them off the ground because 1) I didn't have any sense of business 2) I wasn't capable of running a company 3) I didn't have the development skills myself to get a prototype up and running.

Re:The correct link.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20679189)

As the saying goes "Anyone can have an idea." Building a business is 10% idea, 90% very hard work.

Re:The correct link.. (4, Insightful)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | about 7 years ago | (#20679565)

You missed the point thanks to the Worst. Summary. EVER. If you had the dad this kid had, none of your other points would matter. The fact that his parents are exploiting their children for marketing hype seems to have been missed by everyone, all too happy to project their fantasies onto the hype.

What really doesn't make sense (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 7 years ago | (#20678931)

Is investing in a US based company that is based around selling items in video games. To the best of my knowledge, all MMORPGs fall in to one of two categories relating to online sales of in game stuff:

1) They support it fully, and thus facilitate it themselves like, say, Linden Labs. As such there's very little market for a secondary company, the operators already take care of things and they can offer things nobody else can, like security of transactions.

2) They hate it and it is a banable offence. Blizzard would be a great example. They are always combating gold sellers in World of Warcraft. Here there's a market for a secondary company, as the primary does what they can to prevent it.

Ok but you'll notice that all the ones out there like IGE seem to be located in non-US locations (IGE is in Hong Kong). Why is that? Well because not only do companies like Blizzard hate it, they'll sue your ass over it. Even if they don't win (and there's a reasonable chance they would, given it is their service and thus their right to set terms on it) they can drag your company down with a lawsuit and injunction over it.

However, that's only a problem for companies located in the US, or other nation that Blizzard (or rather their parent Vevendi SA) has offices and with legal systems friendly to such lawsuits. So operating in China is pretty safe, you just aren't going to get anywhere legally.

Well this company is US based. Seems rather stupid. Either you are trying to market in games that will let you, but don't need your services, or you are trying to market in games that won't let you, and will probably sue you if you become a big enough problem. Gee, THAT'S a great business plan.

Re:What really doesn't make sense (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#20679001)

The company seems to be aiming to sell their product / service to people who run MMORGs. I a few MMORGs start using it, then you could have interesting situations where people are trading objects in one world for ones in another. This could lead to inflation and exchange rate fluctuations between the two worlds much as you currently get between countries. I wonder what their plan is to counter this.

Re:What really doesn't make sense (1)

Crayon Kid (700279) | about 7 years ago | (#20679279)

Simple. Hire an economy professor [slashdot.org] to learn how to deal with these situations. Complex economy conditions can quite naturally appear in online games with large populations, you'd do well to have an expert handy.

Re:What really doesn't make sense (1)

Duffy13 (1135411) | about 7 years ago | (#20679875)

Well here's the thing, while an economy professor will most definitely project a very nice model and maybe come up with some interesting things the rest of us would not find, in 99% of the game economies out there it's the same basic problem, too much dam money. There's just not enough money sinks. Maybe if a game added significant taxes they could fix an economy, but ummm yea thats not fun, so you need to find enough "rewarding" money sinks, and to my knowledge no one has really done it.

Hmm yase (1)

ettusyphax (1155197) | about 7 years ago | (#20678685)

Man, screw college grads with innovative, realistic ideas. I'm givin all my cash to this 12 year old whose mom told my firm that we stand to make millions!

Micropayments? (2, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 7 years ago | (#20678725)

Isn't this just micropayments? Seriously, this is why gaming is dying. Developers will send out a half finished game and then charge people to download the extra content (i.e. the stuff they couldn't fit in before the deadline).

Let's face it, in a couple of years you'll get a game, say, Tekken where the character only has one costume. You'll then have to download the additional 5 different costumes at $2 a go. They'll do the same with maps and you'll only be able to play online with people who have also bought that map...

Re:Micropayments? (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#20679049)

You paint a fairly bleak picture of the future. This could also be a means for returning some of the control of the industry to small-time developers. From your homepage and sig, I'll assume you are connected in some way to the Blob Wars series[1]. I enjoyed Metal Blob Solid, but most modern games are written by huge teams of people and a small project can't really compete with them. A few people, however, could write (and sell) a few levels and characters in an online game.

Remember Quake? The game was okay, but like most Id games it was little more than a technology demo. The reason it was so popular was that it was easy for third parties to provide add-ons. At one point, my quake directory was about half a gigabyte, with less than a tenth of that content provided by Id. The most interesting thing about Quake, which was lost in later versions, was that the game rules, written in QuakeC, were compiled to a bytecode format, and so the compiled version worked on any CPU. Now picture a virtual world using the same model. The game publisher would sell a basic engine, with graphics, audio and network code, which would allow you to connect to a virtual environment. You'd then buy (or download for free) various third party extensions which would allow you to play in various parts of an online gamescape.

[1] If so, great work. I really enjoyed the first one. Any idea when a Mac port of the second one will be available? The Mac download link points to a corrupted disk image, so I can't even try an old version, and the FreeBSD box I played the first one on doesn't have a fast enough GPU to handle it.

Re:Micropayments? (1)

Lectoid (891115) | about 7 years ago | (#20679163)

This has already been done. With "Gears of War", they came out with a few maps you could buy. Kameo, one of the first xbox 360 games, had a few costumes you could buy. I bet if I looked, I could find a dozen or so games where you almost needed to buy something to be better in the game. I used to play Chromehounds (another 360 game), you could buy better weapons if you wanted to, but as far as I could tell you couldn't win them in the game. I stopped playing it because of that.

Re:Micropayments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20679209)

Isn't this how Dungeons and Dragons works? It looks like we've come full circle.

After reading the real article (3, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | about 7 years ago | (#20678735)

It sounds like there's some speculation that the kid doesn't really have that much to do with the company at all. Except for being an effective way to generate press. Nobody pays much attention if some random guy gets a few million dollars for a gaming idea. But a 12-year old...that's news!

The harsh reality (5, Informative)

morpheus83 (708114) | about 7 years ago | (#20678781)

A comment says The story about 12 year old co-founder is a big oversell...I know because I broke the story on funding two days ago. The CEO Karl Mehta and Arjun's dad is the real guy behind it...arjun just came up with part of the idea for it, and is not really involved with the business per se. Arjun's mention on the site is a gimmick which will be rectified soon...the release doesn't mention him and for good reason. Venture beat is investigating it, turns out the it is a hoax. Father using his son to make millions.

Arrrr thyou loookhhing at mah hedthh gear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20678785)

Seriously, kid sounds like Shelly from South Park.

Hmm. Isn't this already patented? (4, Funny)

someone1234 (830754) | about 7 years ago | (#20678811)

The chinese gold farmers do this since years, isn't there already a patent for this business method?

That's NOTHING (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | about 7 years ago | (#20678823)

Some of you may recall a little bit of crazyness a few years back, where almost a MILLION times as much money as was handed to the 12 year old went down the drain. IIRC the final tab for that orgy was about nine *trillion* dollars.

We humans seem to very quickly forget the not too distant past.

Where's the perpective? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20678825)

Has anyone drilled down to find out more info on the kid's background?
I have done a little, and no, it's not the kid in a vacuum making these
accomplishments. He's 12 years old and smart, not a super genius born with 142
man years of VC experience. That's not built into the genetic code or injected
in the pop tarts he eats. But his support network does have this VC experience.
You could have achieved similar things as a child, if:
- You lived in Silicon Valley
- Had a support network with VC pitching experience
- Had family with connections to above said group
- Had family that planned for your achievements

I've read gushing stories of young entrepreneurs that seem outlandish or super human
in accomplishment for their age. But, when I dive down into the details, more often than not, I find cases of ready made systems that will not let the child fail.
Stories of a young furniture magnate with 2 warehouses and a booming business, only to find that his father owns 12 warehouses as is accomplished in the furniture business. The media loves portraying these kids in a light of pure achievement with no mention of their contacts, support and guiding but that is dishonest reporting.

I guess it makes for a less interesting story when you see the looming shadow of a father pulling strings for the child like a puppet behind the curtain.
The child seems happy enough with the attention though.

Re:Where's the perpective? (2, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | about 7 years ago | (#20678963)

Exactly. It's like when people talk about the amazing startup that YouTube supposedly was and how it was "started by two kids in their garage". Well, not really. One of them was married to a woman whose father was in the industry and rich and had all the right connections and helped fund the startup.

It's true of almost all of these situations. If it weren't for the parents and their connections, kids like this wouldn't even be introduced to such possibilities, much less given the resources for them, the encouragement regarding them or the expertise that would cost a normal kid/adult a lot of money and the connections that money can't buy.

This would be like a story about Bill Gates' child starting up his own software company as a teenager or Harrison Ford having a son who goes into acting. I mean... duh. What else was he going to do? He had the example and the resources to do it by dint of relation.

Not to mention... we don't know who really did the meat of the work. Remember that girl who did the abstract paintings and made like a half million dollars before it turned out that her dad (an artist) was the one who actually did all of the paintings that she was famous for?

Re:Where's the perpective? (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | about 7 years ago | (#20679141)

Keep in mind, though, that connections aren't everything. The guys who rake it in often have some pretty big failures in their past as well. MOST entrepeneurs - even the ones who have good connections and start out ahead of everyone else - still fail to some degree. Whenever I see a story like this, someone is always finding a way to complain about success.

Well, guess what...this kid and his family succeeded. GOOD FOR THEM. They're going to live and eat well for a long time. They aren't going to live off of the rest of our tax money.

They are contributing. SO WHAT if they have connections...should they NOT use them? Should they just give away everything and start from scratch simply because otherwise they would have an "unfair advantage?" Does that mean that they SHOULDN'T succeed?

Sure, we would probably like to see a little more in the way of honest reporting, but journalism is all about limited viewpoints anyway.

I'm not going to comlain that someone succeeded, even if they had an "unfair advantage." They didn't screw someone over. They didn't hide money and step on others to succeed. They didn't cause someone else to fail. Go find something worthwhile to whine about if you're of the opinion that this family SHOULDN'T have made it. Go find a way to bring the poor up, NOT the rich down.

Re:Where's the perpective? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20679157)

Yeah, I remember the kid who started his own business furniture line ( I just saw him recently profiled again...can't remember where ). I was pretty impressed as it seemed legitimate, until I found out the rest of the story and his dad with the already successful line of business furniture, a dozen warehouses, all the inventory and all the industry contacts that would take a normal person years and years to build up. Some entrepreneurial prodigy!

Re:Where's the perpective? (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 7 years ago | (#20679567)

What the hell does "Where's the perceptive?" mean? I'm not going grammar Nazi really here... I don't know if you mean "Where are the perceptive" or "Where is the perception". They mean different things.

Re:Where's the perpective? (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 7 years ago | (#20679589)

In my haste I missed the fact it was just a misspelling of perspective rather than perceptive. Mod me down if you like.

Ooh, ditto! (1)

kiwioddBall (646813) | about 7 years ago | (#20678871)

and in other news, someone has decided that pets.com is a good idea

Mascot (1)

Dareth (47614) | about 7 years ago | (#20679671)

They need a really good pet related mascot, say a dog with a black circle painted around his eyes...

What, a sock puppet you say, now that sounds like a really stupid idea! Ah, what the hell, let's get a Superbowl ad too while we are at it!

Selling game items that he won online? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20678999)

If this means he was selling off stuff like arms and armour in diablo, I'm looking forward to blizzard stomping this kid into the ground.

Wrong title, fixed title below (3, Informative)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 7 years ago | (#20679071)

Should read: "12-year old takes credit for his father's entrepreneurship and garners headlines for his father's company, father rewards extra publicity with new ferrari which kid will subsequently wreck during driver's ed"

Submitting your own articles to Slashdot? (4, Insightful)

superdude72 (322167) | about 7 years ago | (#20679257)

I couldn't help but notice that Bayscribe's (the submitter) e-mail handle is VentureBeat. So I'm assuming he wrote the article that the writeup links to? If so, that needs to be more clear in the writeup. It's not enough that the e-mail address is a tell. He isn't submitting this article as a disinterested third party who finds it interesting; he most likely wants to drive traffic to his site.

Kind of explains a lot, actually.

How very Web 2.0 Bubble...

Well, there goes 5 minutes I'll never get back.

Re:Submitting your own articles to Slashdot? (1)

DanJ_UK (980165) | about 7 years ago | (#20679701)

Luckily, though, it only took me 2 minutes to read an additional 30 seconds to type this. Go me.

Founder is his Father - Karl Mehta - a Hack (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20679275)

I know his father Karl Mehta. He hails from Bombay/India and is a known 'hack' in Silicon Valley devising all sorts of get-rich-quick schemes with his VC brother Miten Mehta (go google). This appears to be one of his yet-another pipedreams. His previous idea was Tradeits.com (www.tradeits.com) which didnt reach anywhere. More here: http://center.spoke.com/info/p2iETB/KarlMehta [spoke.com]

Please don't waste a min of your time on this crap. Arjun, his son, has no clue about what's going on - his father is using him for the dramatic effect.

Re:Founder is his Father - Karl Mehta - a Hack (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | about 7 years ago | (#20679755)

That would explain things. They may have an interesting business opportunity, but unless they patent it (and sorry kids, but Sony's out-of-game stores and countless Korean MMOs provide tons of prior art) they're not going to see a cent from it.

First off, real money trading for goods in MMOs is almost universally verboten. It has a real potential for fucking in-game economies up because you're basically minting gold. That and the outfits that get banned for this shit would file an anti-competition suit against MMO Company X so fast, there wouldn't be time to point and laugh.

Second, this isn't exactly rocket science. Inserting a middleman might save money on development costs in the short run, but it's probably better to eat the costs once, then bolt the homebrew system onto future games, eliminating both licensing fees and the middleman's cut of each transaction.

So he's a goddamned gold farmer ? (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 7 years ago | (#20679347)

He paid for it from earnings made from selling online game items he won.

So he's just one of those thousands of annoying twits who spam the MMOs with "fast, cheap gold" and other game-spoiling ventures. I'm sure he's passionate, alright... but not passionate about the games, it's the money he's after.

Man, that's really young to be so corrupt!

If only it IPO'd (1)

gwappo (612511) | about 7 years ago | (#20679815)

Such a beautiful, obviously overpriced candidate for shorting.

I wish ... (2, Funny)

xednieht (1117791) | about 7 years ago | (#20679959)

my kid would find a generous VC to suck money out of instead of always emptying my wallet.

Games Company Wannabes (2, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 7 years ago | (#20680003)

Something that is common on games programming websites (such as Gamedev) is someone with no industry experience, or even programming ability, wanting to make their own game - either assuming a company will pick it up, or wanting to start their own company.

They tell us how they have a great "idea" for a game. They want programmers to work for them; we ask what they will contribute, and it's "ideas". We tell them that it's like someone with no experience in car design saying they have a great idea for a car, and expecting a company to make it. Typically they want to make a complex game, and most popular of all, it's MMORPGs - so not only do you have the complexities of making a game, but also all the troubles of running a server.

Misleading articles such as this make me sad - promoting that ideas are important, and an idea is all it takes to get funding, and get into the business. No doubt this will encourage more people to post "I have great idea for a game, I wanna make a MMORPG".

I'm sure most of us had money-making ideas when we were 12. Some of us pulled it off when we were older, some of us didn't. But there's nothing special about ideas.

Is it even legal for a 12 year old to be in busine (1)

frankencat (946892) | about 7 years ago | (#20680119)

Just saying.
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