Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Techie kids aged 12 and 14 develop apps


Shravan & Sanjay Kumaran of Go Dimensions

Shravan Kumaran and his younger sibling Sanjay Kumaran are perhaps India's youngest entrepreneurs. Shravan, 14, is the president and Sanjay, 12, is the CEO of Go Dimensions, an app development unit that they founded two years ago from the bedroom in their Chennai home.

Neat formal suits and shoes!

They make an adorable pair in their neat formal suits and shoes. And when they start talking, they have crowds hanging onto every word, often having them in splits with their experiences.

'You should have a strong idea'

On September 28, they stood before the 5,500 attendees at an SAP event in Bangalore, and talked about how to ideate and draw up a business plan.

"You should have a strong idea, self-confidence , a good business plan and know about sources of funding," said Sanjay with the confidence that you normally see in much older people. And he then went on to ask: "Have you heard of dad funding?" The crowd roared. 

Catch me Cop

In the past two years, the two have developed eleven apps that are available on the Apple App Store and Google's Android Play Store. The apps have received over 35,000 downloads.

Their first — Catch me Cop on the Apple App Store — was released last year. It was a game where a con escapes prison and a hunt is launched. There are chases through a desert, beach and a maze.


"Abdul Kalam once came to our school and he loved playing Catch me Cop," recalled Sanjay. Shravan is in Class 9 and Sanjay in Class 7 at the Vael's Billabong International High School in Chennai.

Today, a room in their home is a digital lounge filled with Apple Macs, iPads and Samsung Galaxy Notes. The 'after homework hours' are spent on coding and debugging test apps, while nibbling on cheese fritters and lasagna. Recently, they launched an action game called Extreme Impossible 5.

Alphabet Board

"We developed over 150 test apps before releasing the first app: Catch Me Cop... Another app, Alphabet Board, got a rating of 5 on the app store," said Shravan, who Steve Jobs for inspiring him.

Boys credit their father

"Some of the teachers told them they would be more productive at home than school," said their mother and former journalist Jyothi Lakshmi. But they are clear they will attend classes regularly, and also pursue their love for cricket and the keyboard. 
The boys credit their father Kumaran Surendran, director with American security software company Symantec, for encouraging them to learn programming. They learnt the programming language QBasic when Shravan was in his fifth grade and Sanjay in his third grade.

Plans and hopes

The two have made presentations at TEDx and IIMBangalore. They hope to get at least 50% of smartphone users in India to use their apps.

Trivia on Child Prodigies

Shravan Kumaran, 14, and younger brother Sanjay, 12, founded an app development unit, Go Dimensions
Their first app was a game, called 'Catch me Cop' where a con escapes prison and a wide hunt is launched for him.

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