The Wunderkid of Entrepreneurship
|At a TiE conference that attracted some 4,000 top notch entrepreneurs, corporate heads, venture capitalists, the show stealer was a 13-year-old entrepreneur Anshul Samar who is the founder and CEO of his own company Elementeo. He talked animatedly about his product and his goal of hitting a million dollars in revenue before he heads to High School next year. For someone who has been splashed all over national and international media, he still remains delightful and hrefreshingly cool!
“It was my father who started a few clubs in my school and one of them was the Entrepreneurs Club,” says Samar. “I was made VP of marketing and the title made it sound so real. We met the Mayor, learnt how to make sales pitches, speak to the media and so much more. We went and talked to kids in every classroom in our school. It was in 4th grade that I really got interested in entrepreneurship and I didn’t want to wait another 10 years to start something on my own.”
Anshul decided 6th grade was a good enough place to start. He pitched an idea to the California Association of the Gifted, competing with kids from all over the state. Two ideas were selected as the final winners and Anshul’s was one of them. “I got a $500 grant from CAG, and I consider that my pre-pre seed money for turning that idea into reality.” The product – a fantasy card game, where you beat your opponent by reducing his/her IQ to zero while learning about chemistry took flight. The weapons used are elements and compounds, which you mix and blend in secretive ways. The cards become toxic waste pile when you finally lose and you learn some interesting lessons in the process.
Samar says it took almost a year of trial and error to arrive at the current game and the game will continue to recreate and innovate seamlessly to keep it exciting and fresh. Text books can often be boring, and Anshul wants to foray into other subjects too and create exciting ways of combining education with fun.
“When we first had a booth in March, at the California Association of the Gifted Conference, we got over 400 pre-orders right there and we have been getting many orders on the internet from all over the world. The response at the Tiecon booth was amazing with VCs and angel investors stopping over,” The company is considering an online version of the game as well. Samar’s VP of marketing and sales is his kid sister 11 year old Shailee. “She was out there giving out cards and getting customers to our booth, and we got quite a few orders.”
Anhul says his parents have never put any pressure on him to focus on academics and have supported him in whatever he tries. “They tell me I must give anything I like a shot. Even with Elementeo, I haven’t planned beyond a year. My aim is to raise a million dollars in revenue. If I succeed that will be great and if I don’t then it was still a great experience, because I have had so much fun doing this.”