Teenage CEO plans 'positive world domination' via DIY tablets
Taj Pabari's start-up Fiftysix sells DIY tablet kits for children for just US$150
Taj Pabari's love for Lego took him from a typical high school student to CEO of his own technology start-up by the age of 16.
The Australian teenager started Fiftysix Creations in 2014, selling build-it-yourself tablet and coding kits for kids aged six to 16. The company also runs workshops and training programs in schools and promotes information technology education among children in disadvantaged and remote communities.
"As a child, I loved Lego and I love information communication technology," Pabari says. "And I thought, you know what, let me create the Lego for the 21st century."
Fiftysix tablet kits contain parts of a tablet that the children put together using step-by-step instructions, much like assembling Lego blocks. There are two varieties of tablet - the One kit for beginners, which costs 199 Australian dollars (US$151), and the more advanced Classic for A$299 (US$227), which has slightly better specifications.
Specifications for the One kit include:
•7-inch IPS LCD screen, with a better viewing angle
•Screen resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels
•1.2GHz quad core processor with 512 MB RAM
•Android 5.1 operating software
•Rear- and front-facing cameras, speakers, built-in microphone, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
While the tablet lacks the some of the computing power packed into premium models such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Apple iPad, which offer as much as 4GB RAM, Pabari said the tablets were appropriate for their target audience.
"They're rugged, they're drop-proof and they're for the kids," he said.
In addition to selling its tablet kits, Fiftysix it had provided free IT education to more than 42,000 people in Africa and the Asia Pacific. But being profitable is also an important goal for the young tech company, which is backed by Steve Macdonald, the Sydney-based co-founder of Infinitas Asset Management. Macdonald is also a non-executive director at Fiftysix.
"We have shareholders, so obviously making money is a big part of what we do. However, we are really proud of the social side, which is going into rural communities, Aboriginal communities in Australia, going into places like India, Nepal ... orphanages and giving them our tablet computers," Pabari said.
Pabari, who is currently finishing his final year of high school at John Paul College in Brisbane, declined to disclosed Fiftysix's sales figures, valuations and financial details until he becomes a director when he turns 18. To juggle work and school, Pabari conducts meetings with his team as early as 4:30 am before heading off to school.
The young entrepreneur did not believe in following a traditional education path to success and instead planned to head to New York next year to broaden the reach of his company.
As for the next few years, Pabari said he hoped to spark the interest of a million children in information technology by 2020.
"Positive world domination," he said.