Indian-American teen CEO seeks $500,000 for start-up

April 9th, 2008 - 3:30 pm ICT by admin  


New York, April 9 (IANS) Anshul Samar is not your average Indian-American teenager. Even as his peers spend time playing, 14-year-old Samar is out looking to raise half a million dollars to fund his Silicon Valley start-up. Samar is the CEO of Alchemist Empire Inc., and invented a trading card game, ‘Elementeo’, that aims to teach chemistry to students in a fun way.

The eighth-grader kick-started his company with $500 from the California Association of the Gifted, using the money to develop a prototype of Elementeo.

Samar, an Art of Living fan, presented the prototype at The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) conference in the US in mid 2007, creating quite a sensation as he made his pitch for funding.

Now he is all set to present his inventive card game at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society - another pitch to get the financial backing he needs to mass produce Elementeo.

Like other popular trading card games, Elementeo casts two players against each other in card-based fantasy combat. But unlike ‘Pokemon’ or ‘Magic: the Gathering’, Elementeo educates just as much as it entertains.

The game is based on a 121-card deck of chemical elements, compounds and catalysts. Every card has an explanation of the element or compound’s uses and chemical properties.

For example, the oxygen card can rust neighbouring metal cards and the copper conductor card can shock any metals. The oxidation state of an element is used as its attack power, and its physical state determines its movement on the board.

The goal of the game is to reduce the value of opponents’ electrons to zero through strategic use of each card’s chemical properties.

“Our aim is to combine fun, excitement, education and chemistry, all in one grand concoction,” said Samar.

Like other CEOs, Samar keeps busy with designers, engineers and researchers, besides making marketing pitches and touching base with venture capitalists and lawyers.

He is also popular on the lecture circuit, being invited often to talk to parents and teachers. And, of course, he also has to do his homework.

This last is important for his parents, who have been in the US for 21 years and are entirely supportive of their son’s business adventure.

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