Skipping four grades to graduate University at 18 and becoming a CEO at 19. Here’s the spiel about Brian Wong.
Youngest Canadian to Receive VC Funding
Do you remember what you were doing at age 16?
Brian was in University launching an app, and then going off to work at Digg at 18.
After a year at Digg
“Getting laid off at the age of 18 is not really a good thing. I was very upset during that time. I ended up travelling to get my mind off it.”
Brian flew to Southeast Asia.
During one of his plane rides, he was going up and down the aisles to people watch (for market research). That’s when he noticed that almost everyone was doing the same thing...
“ I remember seeing people on their phones, and I was like, ‘they’re all playing games.’
It got me thinking: why is mobile gaming so popular all of a sudden? And what exactly is causing this adoption?
Obviously it was many things like people getting more powerful phones, getting more game content, having more games available on Android and iOS, all these things were contributing to it.
And then I noticed a really big jarring problem: advertising was being shoved at these experiences in a very unnatural way.
And so the next question is, what is the solution? What are the things we’re going to do to solve that?
And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the question still remained; how can something—banner ads and interstitials—be so ubiquitous, and yet so rejected by the consumer?
If there’s no demand, then why are there people supplying it? Well, it turns out that all of the demand was coming from the app developers. But if someone could create a different supply that the consumer actually wanted, then we could create a big win for everyone involved.”
He became the founder and CEO of Kiip at the age of 19. Not just a CEO, but the youngest person to ever receive venture capital.
Kiip has raised more than $15 million venture capital from companies like American Express, Relay Ventures, Hummer Winblad, True Ventures, Verizon Ventures, CrossLink Capital, etc.
A mobile app rewards platform that lets brands and companies give real-world rewards for in-game achievements.
A marketing and monetization platform that greets people in moments on their mobile and connected devices.
Established a strategic partnerships with more than 40 major brands such as Amazon.com, American Apparel, Best Buy, Pepsi, Playboy, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret and others.
With presence all over the world including offices in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tokyo and London.
“Kiip redefines how brands connect with consumers through moment-based rewards in everyday apps. As part of our innovation strategy, we’re motivated by challenges, curiosity and a love for learning.”
He’s been profiled in global publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Inc. Magazine. Some of his recognitions are:
Forbes 30 under 30
Top 20 Under 20 awards for all of Canada (Yup, he’s Canadian, eh)
Business Insider’s Top 25 Under 25 in Silicon Valley
18 Most Important People in Mobile Advertising
Mashable’s Top 5 Entrepreneurs to Watch
All Before 19
Despite being so young, Wong is an advocate of staying in school.
Received his High School diploma at age 14
Instead of spending 8 hrs a day on gaming (like he always does), he decided to finish school faster and ended up skipping four grades through the University Transition Program
Started his first tech business when he was 16
While in University, he launched an app called FollowFormation. This app is an early attempt to sort information on Twitter
“The easiest way to follow the top Twitterers by subject matter or topic” -Mashable
Finished with a business degree at 18
Wong graduated from University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Commerce.
“The notion of finishing something is something that entrepreneurs get a bad rap for, we’re so schizophrenic. [It’s like] hey let’s go to this project, let’s go to that project. Well let’s just finish school, let’s just finish that project.” - TechCrunch
You heard him. Stay in school kids.
School is tough, we get it.
How did Brian Wong breeze through school and become a millionaire at a young age?
Some people are just naturally born with great minds and impressive talents.
But it's not completely because of that... it's because he just did it, like skipping High School to go straight to University and launching an app.
Great entrepreneurs are made, not born. Entrepreneurship is an acquired skill; it takes hard work to master this skill.
Luckily, school provides a safety net for your trial and error - a place to build your network as much as you can, acquire skills as much as you can and meet a lot of passionate and eager people.