LAKEWOOD RANCH — A 6-year-old Janum Trivedi tried to avoid tripping on strewn wires lying on the floor of the family’s home, as his father fixed a broken computer.
At 13 years old, Trivedi networked within his father’s health-care IT company to grasp fundamentals and build a computer from scratch.
Now, Trivedi, a 17-year-old junior at The Out-of-Door Academy, and his business partner/classmate, Marcus Buffet, also 17, regularly exchange emails with Google’s senior digital designer.
In June, the brainy duo launched an app called Bankr, meant to help a user manage his or her money.
Available in Apple’s app store and for download on the iPhone, the program documents expenses, sets budgets and tracks stock portfolios (if you have one) with simplicity made for everyday movers.
Its features are backed by a crisp, clutter-free design. Bankr’s logo has a white background with blue rectangles topped by a roof-shaped triangle, meant to resemble the outline of a bank.
“Bankr is a simple, intuitive and powerful way to keep tabs on your money,” Trivedi said. “It provides value for tech junkies, while being simple enough for someone without an accounting degree.”
The seven-month project, which started with reading basic software development books and writing lines of code, peaked with a December all-nighter and ended with the creation of a company, Styled Syntax, and a website for it.
Styled Syntax offers only one product, the Bankr app, which boasts 1,000 users and 16,000 lines of code. Bankr sells for $1.
Trivedi and Buffet earn 70% of an individual app sale in a monthly paycheck, while Apple takes home 30%.
The teens also create custom apps for businesses.
Like any idea, Trivedi and Buffet’s sprouted from a perceived unfulfilled need in the market. In this case, it was a niche market.
“We weren’t pleased with the finance apps out there,” Trivedi said. “They were either too simple or too complex. We also just wanted to challenge ourselves and see if we could operate like a business.”
Then, the two started writing code.
“Code is like any other language,” Buffet said. “It has its own syntax. When you write a line of code, you are telling the computer to do something. The most basic example would be to get two numbers and have the computer add them up.”
Code and the computer world have followed Trivedi around from the time he could walk.
It trailed him from India, where Trivedi’s father left 26 years ago to move to Detroit, where Trivedi grew up in a wire-strewn home. It followed his family when they moved to Sarasota three years ago.
Buffet, who has attended ODA since kindergarten, learned code through curiosity.
His parents fumble with basic keypad phones and attempt poorly executed text message slang, he says.
“They’re just average parents (with technology),” Buffet said. “I am the tech consultant in the house. Involuntarily.”
Now, the friends manage and market — through hype-generating, third-party blogs by professionals in the business — their own company.
Trivedi and Buffet recently played their self-created Bankr promo video at a school assembly.
“The students thought it was cool,” Trivedi said.
Next month, Trivedi and Buffet will tour colleges such as Stanford and Berkley, while experiencing the entrepreneurial energy of Silicon Valley.
Perhaps they can continue to carry on their regular tech email conversations with the Google executive.
“It is pretty serendipitous that I was able to meet someone (Buffet) who also shares my interest in tech and computers,” Trivedi said. “We both think it’s incredible that you can build something so complex and powerful out of nothing in a few hours.”
Contact Josh Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org.