Imagine, you’re 14 year old and you have a business idea. Soon after, you get a 30 million USD offer by a major company for the patent of your idea…
Well, for 8th grader Taylor Rosenthal this is no imagination: it’s the real story of the 14-year old from Opelika in Alabama. By the way, Alabama is the sixth poorest state in the US with 19% of adults and 28% of children living below poverty line. So the often heard ‘poverty-argument’ why Romania produces almost no entrepreneurial spirit is nonsense.
But back to Taylor Rosenthal: he attended a class in the ‘Young Entrepreneurs Academy’, a program designed for high school students interested in learning how to start their own small businesses. There, his class was asked to brainstorm ideas for a company.
Once again, a good idea for a business was just in front of anyone’s nose. Taylor played baseball for years and noticed: ‘Whenever someone got hurt, no one could find a ‘Band-Aid’ – I wanted to solve that.’
The young entrepreneur himself started selling first-aid kits at baseball games, but he soon realized that he could cut costs by using machines instead of human salespeople. So he created a vending machine that serves first-aid kits rather than snacks & beverages and became CEO of RecMed.
The vending machine allows consumers to purchase first-aid packages to treat ailments such as cuts, sun burns, bee stings and blisters that run from 5.99 to 15.95 USD or buy individual supplies like bandages, gauze pads and rubber gloves from 6 to 20 USD,
The idea of the red, black and white machines, which Rosenthal modeled off his high school’s colors, took off. Rosenthal has so far raised over 130’000 USD in start-up investments and hopes his vending machine (price: 5’500 USD) will be on the market at baseball playgrounds or amusement parks by this fall. And the young man is pretty confident about the potential growth of RecMed – he even turned down a 30 million USD offer by a major US health corporation for his idea.. https://youtu.be/DJuuyfG962c
Well, I’m pretty sure, that in the hundreds of football games played in Romania every weekend, the situation of an injury and a missing first-aid kit came up countless times, yet no one thought about a practical (and profitable) solution.
US-kids are not smarter than Romanian. The difference between the US and Romania is a fundamental other perspective towards entrepreneurship and US kids are given the possibility to explore their capacities, creating business ideas during education – and then get support by the business community.
Taylor’s RecMed pitch went on to win first place in his class, which earned him assistance from startup incubator Roundhouse to develop the pitch for a regional competition.
In January, Rosenthal went on to win second place in the Techstars competition at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and last week he took part at TechCrunch Disrupt, a startup conference in New York.
Rosenthal’s mentor at Roundhouse, Kyle Sandler, said he is the youngest entrepreneur at the company, where the average member is in his or her 30s. Rosenthal spends all his free time at Roundhouse, where he even has an office, he said.
‘We had to throw him out of Roundhouse on Christmas Eve because he wanted to keep working.’
It surely will pay off..
Young inventor and CEO Taylor Rosenthal who turned down 30 million USD offer: “Although it’s difficult to balance school, baseball and running a business, all of the hard work is worth it in the end.”