Look out, Zuckerberg. Sami Mughal and Eric Szabo are millennials on the rise in tech world.
The pair of Ossining High School students (Mughal just graduated, Szabo is a rising junior) built an app called Skyfaller that was recently released for the iPhone. The simple yet mesmerizing game requires the user to tilt his or her device to control the fall of an animated parachuter to avoid randomly generated clouds. The further his fall without hitting a cloud, the higher the score.
Mughal, 17, and Szabo, 16, met each other through friends at school when Mughal put the word out that he needed a programming buddy for his idea.
The two pretty much taught themselves to program over the last few years, they said, by watching YouTube videos and talking with friends. They were also members of Ossining High’s computer science club last year before the club fizzled out, they said.
The app, which Mughal designed and Szabo illustrated and programmed, was released in June and so far has had more than 2,200 users. With the help of family and friends, and proceeds from Szabo’s freelance programming, they scraped together a couple hundred dollars to purchase the software they needed and take care of licensing fees required to submit the app to the Apple store, though Apple initially rejected it because of a glitch. Skyfaller was officially released for iPhone on June 21 and an Android version is not far behind, the students say.
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Mughal, the self-appointed CEO of the duo’s company, Skyfall Technologies, said their inspiration comes from other young tech entrepreneurs who’ve sought — or stumbled upon — financial success by building simplistic, addictive gaming apps that are deceptively challenging.
The students noted the Flappy Bird app, created by young Vietnamese programmer Nguyen Ha Dong, who reportedly earned tens of thousands of dollars per day at the peak of the app’s popularity. But Dong removed Flappy Bird from the app store in February, saying that while the game is a success “it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.”
Szabo and Mughal said proceeds from advertisements in their app have begun to trickle in, but the amount is insignificant, and they declined to cite an exact figure.
With any luck, the teen entrepreneurs are setting themselves up for a manageable rise to success – both financially and creatively.