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Triangle Teen Entrepreneurs On The Fast Track To Become Millionaires

Posted April 5, 2000

— The Triangle has become a hotbed for start up high-tech businesses, and the founders of these companies seem to be getting younger and younger. Two high school teenagers are on the fast track to becoming millionaires.

At 18 years old, Jud Bowman is president of his own company,Pinpoint.com. He came up with the idea while at camp at MIT.

"I don't think I envisioned this, but it's definitely pretty neat," Bowman says.

Bowman and co-founder Taylor Brockman just raised $5 million in venture capital to expand their business.

Pinpoint.com provides search engines to Web sites with topic-specific search technology. Even with more than 20 employees and counting, the workload is heavy.

"What do I do every day, I come to work and I work insane hours," Bowman says. "I come in about nine, and I get out of here anywhere from 10 p.m. to midnight, the wee hours of the day."

However, Bowman says he has a life outside of work. He plays the viola in the Raleigh Symphony, and he has a girlfriend at Stanford.

"I do have a pretty hefty phone bill, but that's what I put my salary towards," Bowman says.

Even though he is still a young guy, he does not have any trouble getting seasoned businessmen to take him seriously.

"I think the Internet has changed a lot of that," Bowman says. "People have an acceptance for young entrepreneurs. I'm probably one of the younger ones people meet, but it hasn't been a problem in my experience."

Bowman is not the only young entrepreneur in the Triangle.

Anand Shimpi, a student at Enloe High School, launchedAnandtech.comthree years ago with zero investment at the ripe old age of 14. He began writing computer hardware reviews and posting them on his Web site. It turns out there was a big demand for it as his site draws more than 130,000 hits a day.

"I just happened to provide it at the right time," Shimpi says. "I grew pretty much it seems like overnight, but it did take a long time and a lot of hard work."

Even with a staff of 15, the 18-year-old only manages about two to four hours of sleep a night. He works in a home office, filled with hardware.

Juggling his Web site and schoolwork takes up most of his time. He admits he gets stressed.

"The writing part is one thing, but the business side of things, the political side of things, being CEO of a company really takes its toll on you," Shimpi says.

Anand may not be old enough to vote, but because he is CEO of a multimillion dollar company, he has had to deal with a lot of adult issues.

"There are things related to the politics of doing something like this," Shimpi says. "I mean there's a lot of greed out there and a lot of backstabbing."

Shimpi says he has a philosophy for keeping his busy life in perspective.

"I feel that if you work hard, you should play hard," Shimpi says.

Shimpi has one real indulgence, his BMW Z3. He drives it when he wants to de-stress. Between that and taking time on the weekends for his buddies and his girlfriend, he does not feel like he is missing out on life as a high school senior.

"I obviously can't go to every single movie or every basketball game but for the most part I think I'm just the same as just about any other teen out there," Shimpi says. "I just happen to have a different hobby at home."

Both teens plan to attend college. Jud Bowman has deferred his scholarship from Stanford for now. Anand will be attending N.C. State to major in computer engineering.


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