6. The Alchemist
Anshul Samar, 14
Like Quizlet's Andrew Sutherland, Anshul Samar began his entrepreneurial career by seeking an alternative to soporific study techniques--in this case, mastering chemistry. So he created Elementeo, a card game based on chemical elements in which players battle to reduce their opponents' electrons (and ultimately their in-game IQ) to zero.
Anshul started his company with a $500 grant from the California Association of the Gifted. As founder and CEO of Alchemist Empire, Inc., Anshul says he spends most of his time "designing, engineering, R&D, corresponding with designers and artists, giving pitches to people that are interested, marketing, testing, and doing a lot of brainstorming." That's in addition to chatting up venture capitalists and lawyers, giving talks to parents and teachers, doing presentations at conferences, talking to the media, and finishing his homework. Because, after all, he's only an 8th-grader.
Last May, Anshul was the hit of TIEcon, a annual gathering of tech entrepreneurs, outshining such luminaries as Salesforce.com's Marc Benioff and eBay's former CEO, Meg Whitman.
"Living in Silicon Valley, I have seen all of these people starting their own businesses, showing the world their product, and being entrepreneurs," says Samar. "Since 4th grade, I've dreamed of being the CEO of my own business. And now, in 8th grade, I am finally one."
If Elementeo doesn't catch on, Anshul says, he's not worried. "If this business fails, I can still come home and have a nice dinner. I will still have my basketball hoop in my backyard and my skateboard in the garage."