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Businesses Games

12 Year Old Gets $6.5M for Gaming Company 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-a-lot-of-candy dept.
Bayscribe writes "A Silicon Valley company co-founded by a 12-year-old has just raised $6.5 million in venture capital. PlaySpan, based in Santa Clara, Calif. says it offers game publishers a technology that lets users make payments and shop for other items. It calls itself the first "publisher-sponsored in-game commerce network." Arjun Mehta, a 6th grader, says on his Web site that he is passionate about software that can make the game experience more "rewarding," and that he started the company last year in his garage. He paid for it from earnings made from selling online game items he won."
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12 Year Old Gets $6.5M for Gaming Company

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:57AM (#20678613)
    The actual article is here [venturebeat.com].

    Apparently the kid isn't an actual co-founder, nor the CEO. It's his father running everything, the kid is just a sensationalist marketing tool.

    Really, I highly doubt these kids even know a tiny fraction about the technical aspects of what they're selling or how it's done. They'll get lots of money for sure, and also learn a whole lot along the way, but they're definitely not the brains or management behind the operation at the moment.
  • Re:bubble 2.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @06:01AM (#20678631) Homepage
    From the summary it reads like he created an in-game way to buy items.
    I'm pretty sure I've seen this before (i.e. Second Life) and no company worth it's salt would have any trouble implementing this themselves.
  • Micropayments? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @06:25AM (#20678725) Homepage
    Isn't this just micropayments? Seriously, this is why gaming is dying. Developers will send out a half finished game and then charge people to download the extra content (i.e. the stuff they couldn't fit in before the deadline).

    Let's face it, in a couple of years you'll get a game, say, Tekken where the character only has one costume. You'll then have to download the additional 5 different costumes at $2 a go. They'll do the same with maps and you'll only be able to play online with people who have also bought that map...
  • by faloi (738831) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @06:31AM (#20678735)
    It sounds like there's some speculation that the kid doesn't really have that much to do with the company at all. Except for being an effective way to generate press. Nobody pays much attention if some random guy gets a few million dollars for a gaming idea. But a 12-year old...that's news!
  • Re:bubble 2.0 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Thursday September 20, 2007 @06:49AM (#20678801) Journal
    Project much?

    -jcr

  • Re:riight. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Thursday September 20, 2007 @06:52AM (#20678815) Journal
    Until and unless you meet the kid, your assumptions about his character are nothing but projections of your jealousy.

    I say, good for him.

    Now the VC, on the other hand, is probably out of his mind.

    -jcr

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2007 @06:53AM (#20678825)
    Has anyone drilled down to find out more info on the kid's background?
    I have done a little, and no, it's not the kid in a vacuum making these
    accomplishments. He's 12 years old and smart, not a super genius born with 142
    man years of VC experience. That's not built into the genetic code or injected
    in the pop tarts he eats. But his support network does have this VC experience.
    You could have achieved similar things as a child, if:
    - You lived in Silicon Valley
    - Had a support network with VC pitching experience
    - Had family with connections to above said group
    - Had family that planned for your achievements

    I've read gushing stories of young entrepreneurs that seem outlandish or super human
    in accomplishment for their age. But, when I dive down into the details, more often than not, I find cases of ready made systems that will not let the child fail.
    Stories of a young furniture magnate with 2 warehouses and a booming business, only to find that his father owns 12 warehouses as is accomplished in the furniture business. The media loves portraying these kids in a light of pure achievement with no mention of their contacts, support and guiding but that is dishonest reporting.

    I guess it makes for a less interesting story when you see the looming shadow of a father pulling strings for the child like a puppet behind the curtain.
    The child seems happy enough with the attention though.
  • Re:bubble 2.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:29AM (#20678935)
    I smell someone with a dad in the industry who gave him access to all the necessary advantages.

    These wonder-kids never spring up out of trailer parks where mom and dad flip burgers and the most advanced high-tech device they own is a VCR.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @07:40AM (#20678987) Journal
    Is that legal? In the UK, you are required to receive full time education until you are 16 (either in a school or at home). You are also not allowed to work more than a small number of hours a week, although being a CEO probably wouldn't be a problem if you didn't count time spent on the golf course as work.

    Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dropped out of university. There is a huge difference between doing that and dropping out of school.

  • by superdude72 (322167) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @08:34AM (#20679257)
    I couldn't help but notice that Bayscribe's (the submitter) e-mail handle is VentureBeat. So I'm assuming he wrote the article that the writeup links to? If so, that needs to be more clear in the writeup. It's not enough that the e-mail address is a tell. He isn't submitting this article as a disinterested third party who finds it interesting; he most likely wants to drive traffic to his site.

    Kind of explains a lot, actually.

    How very Web 2.0 Bubble...

    Well, there goes 5 minutes I'll never get back.
  • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @09:13AM (#20679565) Journal
    You missed the point thanks to the Worst. Summary. EVER. If you had the dad this kid had, none of your other points would matter. The fact that his parents are exploiting their children for marketing hype seems to have been missed by everyone, all too happy to project their fantasies onto the hype.
  • Re:riight. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Thursday September 20, 2007 @09:18AM (#20679601) Journal
    Have you met the venture capitalists?

    Not this particular bunch, but I've met enough VCs to hold them in low regard in general.

    -jcr

  • Re:riight. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GeckoX (259575) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @09:44AM (#20679853)
    And I've met enough 12 year olds to know this is not something ANY 12 year old I've ever met could handle.

    Yet you flog one person for suggesting that, but flip when the discussion turns to the VC's...why the hypocrisy? Your original point was a good one, having not met the kid, lets not judge him...but you'd best carry that through or you start coming off as an ass.

  • Re:bubble 2.0 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ralphc (157673) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @10:20AM (#20680349)
    I beg to differ. Ashley Qualls built a multi-million dollar company out of her site, http://whateverlife.com/ [whateverlife.com], from ad revenue. Her site features different layouts for Myspace. When you stop laughing, go read this article http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/118/girl-power.html [fastcompany.com], which mentions, among other things, that her site gets more hits than oprah.com. What have YOU been doing in your parents' basement?
  • by Seumas (6865) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @10:57AM (#20680963)
    You're missing the entire fucking point.

    Nobody is saying they shouldn't use their connections and insights to their advantage. We're saying that it's not newsworthy. Presonally, I'm tired of media articles about some wiz-kid who founded his own company or invented some genius device and immediately got it into production and became wealthy before he had pubes when the kid already had the connections and avenues open for him to begin with.

    Think of it this way. Which is a news story? Spoiled child of wealthy connected family attends Harvard where his parents are both Alumni and donors -- or underprivileged child from single parent home in the ghetto living on welfare lands a spot with tuition at Harvard?

    See, one is impressive. The other is... well... inevitable and obvious.

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