Young App Developers Who Made Millions

By Snigdha | December 14, 2017 10:47 am

App Builder Appy Pie, December 14: An average youth today would spend his early years getting an education and set some “realistic” goals for themselves and be just another competitor in the rat race while hardly making any attempts to do anything differently. But there is a rare breed of youngsters who choose to walk the paths never traversed on and choose to act on their dreams.

Everyone, everywhere today is talking about mobile apps, and everyone who has a smart phone has tens of these on their phones. For everything that we want to do, we need an app today and the things we cannot do on an app, definitely need one!

The young have the advantage of having the freedom to pursue their dreams and a scope to try new things all the time. But how many of them take advantage of it? The world of mobile apps has been fortunate in spotting some of these dreamers turned doers. Here we’re going to talk about the select few, who saw a problem, figured out an opportunity and went ahead and grabbed it – Young app developers who became millionaires.

Brian Wong

Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Brian Wong is a Canadian internet entrepreneur. A child prodigy, Wong received his high school diploma at the age of 14, and his bachelor’s degree at the age of 18 from the University of British Columbia. It was while he was still at the university that he launched his first company – FollowFormation. The company was noticed and quoted by Mashable as the easiest way to follow the top Twitterers by their subject matter or topic.

One of his recent ventures – Kiip has made him one of the youngest internet entrepreneurs to raise venture capital.

About Kiip

At the age of 19, inspiration hit Wong on a flight where he realized that quite a few passengers were engaged on their iPads or phones. Most of these people were busy playing games on myriad devices which were infiltrated with ads that took up screen space while adding no real value to the experience. Wong perceives games as the holy grail of achievement and here he was intrigued by the possibility to leverage the key moments of achievement experienced by the gamers like level ups and high scores. He devised a relevant and targeted rewards program that helped the brands reach the customers at the time when they were deeply engaged in the game.

It was in July 2010 that Wong chose to team up with Courtney Guertin and Amadeus Demarzi to found Kiip. Today Kiip sends out achievement based rewards like coupons etc. to a total of 100 million customers on a monthly basis. The company has managed to garner more than $32 million of venture capital from companies like Relay Ventures, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, True Ventures, Verizon Ventures, Crosslink Capital, and more. Kiip has expanded to establish their offices in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tokyo, & London.

The list of brand partners for Kip include at least 40 major brands with names of repute like 1-800-Flowers,, American Apparel, Best Buy, Carl’s Jr., Disney, Dr. Pepper, GNC, KY Jelly, Pepsi, Playboy, Popchips, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, Vitamin Water and more. It is estimated that Kiip would have garnered more than $20 million in revenue by the end of the year 2017.

Thing You Must Know About Brian Wong

  • Wong, in 2010 became one of the youngest company leaders to receive funding from a venture capital firm.
  • He was a self-made millionaire when he was just shy of 20.
  • He has appeared and spoken at some of the most prestigious conferences including TEDx and SXSW.
  • Wong and his company Kiip has been profiled by some of the most prestigious publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Inc. Magazine.
  • He appeared on the cover of the September 2014 issue of Entrepreneur as one of the young millionaires changing the world.
  • He was also named in the Forbes 30 Under 30/Social/Mobile list in 2011.
  • He has authored “The Cheat Code: Going Off Script To Get More, Go Faster, and Shortcut Your Way To Success” that is aimed at helping young people just starting their careers and was published in September 2016.

Robert Nay

Born in 1996, Robert Nay was 14, when his friends suggested that he try and make an iPhone App and the idea then took roots. Nay didn’t have any previous experience or knowledge of coding and went to the public library for his research about what he needed to do to build his game. He says “”I came up with the idea for the game by myself, but it was influenced by other games I liked and suggestions from people.”

One month after the idea took root, Nay had managed to read a few books on the subject and produced 4000 individual lines of code and complete his game Bubble Ball. The investment in the app consisted of buying a new Macbook and the proper software licenses which came to a total of $1200 – the money was furnished by his parents.

Bubble Ball

Bubble Ball by Robert Nay is a 72-level physics puzzle game released in December 2010 and was downloaded 2 million times on Apple App Store in its first two weeks. The puzzles on the game range from simple to extremely challenging wherein each level completion provides you with tools to be used in the succeeding level. In 2011, Bubble Ball was chosen as the App of the Week by Ansca Mobile, and still stands at #3 on the “Ansca Mobile’s Hall Of Fame”.

The game has been downloaded over 16 million times since it has been released and the current version is available both on Apple App Store and Google Play Store for free. At one point of time Bubble Ball had managed to displace Angry Birds from its number one spot on the list of free games on the Apple App Store.

In the summers of 2012, a new version was released that had a new feature – Community Levels allowing the players to engage with hundreds of additional levels created by other users. The users can create additional levels through a web interface at the game website and then submit them with the help of a code that is obtained from the game interface. These levels become available to the other users only after being approved by the developers. The game levels are sorted by a number of attributes including difficulty. The easiest of the levels have been solved by more than 60% of the users who have downloaded the app, the hardest levels have only been solved by a mere 10% and the most difficult level has only been solved by 8%.

Things You Must Know About Robert Nay

  • He designed his first game at the age of 14 and Bubble Game, his first game was downloaded 2 million times in only two weeks since the launch.
  • The eighth grader has established his own company Nay Games for mobile games development and based it out of Utah.
  • Nay developed the game with the help of his mother and used a software development kit called Corona from Ansca Mobile.
  • His mother helped him design some of the game levels and submit the application to iTunes

Chad Mureta

A graduate in Business Management from Coastal Carolina University Mureta owned a newspapaer company and worked as a real estate investor and went on to start his own real estate agency in 2006. In 2009 he had a life changing accident where he had to undergo two major operations and then spend 18 months recuperating. A friend casually passed him a newspaper article about “app millionaires” which started a chain of events where Mureta began researching, designing, and outsourcing the development of apps.

Fingerprint Security-Pro his first app mimics fingerprint-scanning technology which became a bestseller in the App Store. Following the success of the first app, Mureta has gone on to create 50 more apps that have been downloaded more than 150 million times globally.

Fingerprint Security-Pro

A traumatic accident with a deer caused Muerta’s car to flip over for four times where his hand was crushed, nearly severed. This left him bedridden in the hospital for more than 18 months after two major surgeries. The total bills at the hospital were more than $100,000 but he was inspired by the article he read about App Millionaires. He used his time in the hospital to research what went into designing and developing an app, and about outsourcing the development.

After he came out of the hospital, Muerta borrowed $1800 from his step father and created his first app – Fingerprint Security-Pro” – an app that mimics fingerprint scanning technology. This app went on to become one of the bestsellers on the App Store and peaked at Number 27 in 2011 and netting more than $500,000 in revenue.

Things You Must Know About Chad Mureta

  • He had to borrow $1800 from his step father to begin working on his app.
  • After his first app “Fingerprint Security-Pro” he went on to develop 50 more apps.
  • His apps have been downloaded for 150 million times globally.
  • In 2012 he wrote a book App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life, and Let Technology Work for You, that provides non-technical guidance to starting a mobile app business.
  • In July 2012, he was featured in 60 Minutes.
  • He was interviewed by Tony Robbins in a special – “How To Create An App Empire”.
  • He still believes in developing an understanding of the marketplace to come up with app ideas and then outsourcing the development of the app.
  • Emoji – an app created by Mureta in two weeks, took only six days to reach #1 on App Store’s productivity category and #12 in the top free overall category while garnering an average of $500 daily.
  • He conducts most of his business from his iPhone, including employee management, monitoring the app stats, and conducting an app market survey.
  • He has used his app business to work less, so that he can use his time in travelling all over the globe, learning salsa, and becoming a certified scuba diver and skydiver.
  • Despite having no previous experience in the app or technology fields, he has founded and served as a CEO of Empire Apps, and cofounded T3 Apps and Best Apps.

Nick D’Aloisio

Born in the year 1995, D’Aloisio is a computer programmer, philosopher, and an internet entrepreneur from London, England. He completed his schooling from King’s College School in Wimbledon with an academic scholarship. He joined University of Oxford as a student having completed his A-Level exams in the summer of 2014.

D’Aloisio created the Trimit application for iOS in March 2011 that utilized an analytical tool that would condense text content into 1000, 500, or 140 character summary text. It was in December 2011 that D’Aloisio after considering the criticism and feedback for Trimit, redesigned the whole app and relaunched it as Summly.


D’Aloisio created Trimit for iOS in March 2011 and the unique app applied unique analytical tools to condense or summarize text to as few as 1000, 500, or 140 characters. Trimit caught attention of Apple and they featured it as a new and noteworthy app on their App Store right after its launch. The unique app caught the attention of the billionaire Li Ka-Shing who invested $300,000 in Trimit as a venture capital funding. At this juncture, in the month of December 2011 D’Aloisio made use of the valuable feedback and criticism he received for Trimit and re-designed the whole app in its entirety and re-launched it now as Summly.

The initial version of Summly was downloaded by 200,000 users, and worked at solving the perceived problems in the manner the articles were presented on smartphones. It was due to the corporate support he received that he garnered US $1.23 million in new venture funding for Summly from renowned celebrities including Yoko Ono, Ashton Kutcher and Stephen Fry and the Hong Kong business mogul Li Ka-Shing. In 2013, Summly was sold to Yahoo reportedly for a whopping US $30 million.

Yahoo News Digest

In January 2014, D’Aloisio announced his new product Yahoo News Digest which is a direct evolution of Summly, and D’Aloisio is the product manager. Yahoo News Digest offers a crisp summary of the important news of the day in the form of a digest that is dispensed twice in a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. These algorithmically and editorially curated stories are presented to the users in a unique manner where the news articles are summarized into key units – atoms and include maps, stock tickets, infographics, and key quotes. Garnering critical acclaim from reputed sources, the app has also won the 2014 Apple Design Award.

Things You Must Know About Nick D’Aloisio

  • D’Aloisio completed the first round of venture capital funding for Summly from Horizons Ventures.
  • He became and still is the youngest person in the world to raise venture capital.
  • He is on the list of youngest self-made millionaires list.
  • D’Aloisio and Summly have been profiled in reputed publications including ReadWrite, Business Insider, Wired, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and TechCrunch.
  • On television he has appeared many times in various shows on CNBC, Bloomberg, BBC, ITV.
  • He has been written about in the British newspaper – Metro and has even been interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live.
  • He has been interviewed by Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning, CNBC Squawk Box, CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, and more.

Awards & Recognition

  • His app Summly received Apple’s Best Apps of 2012 award for “Intuitive Touch”
  • He became WSJ’s Technological Innovator of the Year (2013), appeared in Time Magazine’s list of Most Influencial and was named a Top 1000 Influential Londoner by Evening Standard.
  • He won the Apple Design Award in 2014 for Yahoo News Digest
  • He appeared in the Forbes 30 under 30 list, GQ Magazine’s 100 Most Connected Men of 2014, and Mail On Sunday’s Top 100 things to watch in 2013.
  • He featured in the Sunday Times’ 100 makers of the 21st Century, and was placed at #30 on the 2014 Silicon Valley 100 by Business Insider.
  • He won a Spirit of London Award as Entrepreneur of the Year (December 2012), British Inspiration Award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2013), and was placed 1st in Evening Standard’s Top 25 under25 (2013).
  • D’Aloisio also received a Spear’s Wealth Management for Entrepreneur of the Year (2013) and a Merton Business Award.

About The Author

The Content Head at Appy Pie, Snigdha has had a passion for writing since she can remember and feels lucky for making it her career. With a total experience of 11 years, she has dedicated the last 6 years to hard-core content writing and management. She actively writes about all things related to Social Media & more. In her spare time, she would either love to read curled up on the couch or take a bag of necessities (including a good book) and drive off into the sunset.

App Builder
Reviews on this page are powered by Trustpilot where Appy Pie is Rated as 9.7 out of 10 with 1978+ Excellent reviews. You can post a review for Appy Pie on Trustpilot by clicking on Write a review.