Rahul Dominic, The 16 Year Old CEO Making The World A Safer Place
Rahul Dominic may be a CEO, albeit of a company he runs out of his bedroom, but the sixteen year old child prodigy can give entrepreneurs of any age a run for their money. He speaks to Your Story about how he got started, his immense passion for his work, his ongoing projects and plans for the future.
I have been programming since I was nine or ten. As a child I would watch my dad work on his computer and was fascinated by whatever was going on in the screen, even though I understood little of it. He encouraged my curiosity and let me do whatever I wanted on the computer, never holding me back. Sometimes this lead to disastrous results. Like the time when he was four. My mum’s friend, who worked in the IT department of Sun Microsystems, had spent eighteen hours coding. When we came over for a visit, she got up to have coffee with my mum and I was left to my own devices. I don’t remember how I did it but when the ladies came back from their break, all eighteen hours’ worth of work had been deleted. I went to NIIT when I was ten to learn C programming. All the teachers, including the GM of the place, were very sceptical. They allowed me to sit in for one class, thinking I would leave of my own accord. But I loved it so much I stayed on for the entire course. The teachers were astonished and I have been programming ever since.
Baby steps into entrepreneurship began when I was twelve. My dad had just launched his company then, a finance consultancy. I asked to design the company’s website and he was pleased with my efforts. When Intel App in India first, I created an account and called it Cosmic Soft because I love astronomy. One of the first apps I created was called Duco Paint, a graphics creation tool targeted towards children and adolescents, that launched a year or so back. But when I looked at the analytics data I realized that adults used it much more than kids. Originally released as a desktop app, it eventually became a windows app. I also created a recipe app. My mom works at CISCO and sometimes while going to cook, she’d be at a loss for recipes. My recipe app was targeted at busy people like her. It takes into stock the ingredients available at home and delivers easy recipes using only those ingredients.
His most ambitious project till date, WIREDIN, came about how most ideas do- when realization strikes that something’s missing here. When he and his friends visited Start Up Weekend last year, they realized that they had missed a day’s of school and now it would be extremely inconvenient and time consuming to go about collecting notes and homework’s for every subject. They would have to call multiple people because not everyone would have all the information that they require. Whether or not the information would be accurate is also questionable. “We wanted to create a service where all of this data is available at your fingertips. At the end of a class a teacher types in whatever information she wants to communicate to the class and this is stored in the cloud”.
At a survey of three hundred teachers from around the world, eighty six percent teachers loved the product. The only negative concerns arose regarding the pricing of the product. Once those concerns were assuaged, the reviews were very encouraging.
The basic idea behind WiredIn is to have a personalized class experience on the internet where students can share and edit important information as pertains to their education. For now, the project is completely self-funded, but Dominic is looking at monetization strategies which don’t include advertising. It is difficult, but he is determined to find investors who share his vision for the product.
However, while helping his friends do their homework, Rahul Dominic also wants to make the world a better place. To that effect, he has launched the app VeriSafe. It is a web service that uses powerful algorithm to determine the safety of localities in major cities around the country and the world. He feels it is very irresponsible to rate cities as safe and unsafe and to leave it at that. In an increasingly connected world, where people need to move to new cities for jobs and such, they need accurate information regarding safety. “Complete with a link to read up about the crime in the city you searched for and emergency numbers for the country, VeriSafe has got your back,” he signs off. The app is free of charge.
With such achievements under his belt at such a young age, the future must be looking like a breeze. But he does not want to rest on past laurels. There are a couple of very exciting projects in the kitty for him, though it’s too soon to speak about them. He is looking forward to class eleven, his own school being the launch pad for WiredIn. In time he wants to go the US (MIT, he tells me) for pursuing his undergrad. But that is a long way off and there are exciting things in the now.
You can check out his work here