Ini juga boy wonder yg genius …

I’M in eighth grade. I got the idea for the card game I’m marketing, Elementeo, at the end of fourth grade. I started working on it last year. I named my company Alchemist Empire because alchemists are always creating new things. For example, they try to make gold out of lead. I wanted to show that you can mix fun, education and action.

Vipin Samar


Chief executive,
Alchemist Empire

AGE 14

BIRTHPLACE Cupertino, Calif.


WORDS HE LIVES BY Age doesn’t matter

I had noticed that parents weren’t too interested in playing card games with their children because the games had so much fantasy and weren’t educational. I thought that there should be a game parents and kids could play together that is both.

Elementeo has 121 playing cards, a die and a game board. Players can use things like elements, compounds, supernovas and black holes to simulate an epic chemical war. They might choose a nuclear fusion reaction to release energy and increase the cards’ power. Or, they can have acid rain destroy element cards on the battlefield. It’s all about making chemistry a side effect of fun.

I tested Elementeo at my school, Lawson Middle School. Of the 110 eighth graders who played it, 82 percent thought it was better than the board games currently on the market. I also tried it out at Lyceum, a local organization that I belong to for gifted children in Silicon Valley. I found that fourth through eighth graders liked it.

My family has been a big help in testing the game. But we’re so competitive that we forget about testing and just play the game. Sometimes my mother and I play against my 12-year-old sister and my dad. When my dad and I play, we shout so loud you can hear us at the other end of the house.

My sister does customer support for the company. We’re accepting pre-orders on the Web site, and she responds to people who order. We’re producing the first batch of games now. We hope to have a limited edition of 5,000 games ready soon and we plan to have 50,000 available by the fall.

It takes time. I contracted with six graphic artists for the game — four to work on the cards, one for the board and one to design the logo and a few other things.

It took many months and dozens of e-mails back and forth to complete the work. A few of them don’t even know I’m a kid.

Last June, two venture capitalists came to my house for a meeting and stayed for two hours. We talked about a first round of funding and the valuation of the company. I have decided to stay on my own for a while.

Recently I attended an American Chemical Society conference in New Orleans where I held my very first press conference. I held up O.K. under the pressure. The president-elect of the organization ordered 50 games and said he was going to take them to schools around the country and show students.

Starting this company has taught me many things. I learned about planning and deadlines. My father had his own software business before he joined Oracle a few years ago. He taught me about cash flow and profit-and-loss statements. I also learned how to write an executive summary and about the difference between a C corporation and an S corporation.

I would tell other teenagers who want to start a business not to worry about messing up. When I hear the word “mistakes,” it sounds demeaning. They’re just something you learn from. I’d remind them to make it fun. Don’t start a business because you feel you have to or because your parents want you to.

Still, I’d advise them to develop a timeline and try to get as much done in the beginning as they can. But they should also remember that plans are made to be broken.

People ask me where I see myself in 10 years. I tell them I don’t know. Right now I’m looking forward to turning 15 in the fall, to starting driving lessons and maybe a band.

As told to Patricia R. Olsen.

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