Seattle area 15-year-old sells startup to ActiveState

Daniil Kulchenko

Some entrepreneurs wait a lifetime to experience the thrill of selling their startup companies. Daniil Kulchenko, a Seattle area high school student, accomplished that milestone at the age of 15. Kulchenko today announced that he’s sold his startup, a cloud-based computing company known as Phenona, to Vancouver, B.C.-based ActiveState in a deal of undisclosed size.

Kulchenko plans to join ActiveState in a part-time role, since he’s still a student at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore. Phenona had not publicly launched at the time of the sale, but ActiveState CEO Bart Copeland said that the deal will help speed the company’s move into cloud computing.

[Follow-up: Q&A: Meet the 15-year-old who just sold his tech startup]

“The technology, knowledge, and talent from Phenona will extend a key part of our cloud strategy while helping us accelerate our development in this fast-paced market,” Copeland said in a release.

Kulchenko started Phenona after working on a contract job in which he found it difficult to deploy a Perl web app to the cloud and couldn’t find a service on the market to meet the need.

He started programming at a young age, with The Register noting that he began tinkering with HTML at the age of six and became a freelance Linux administrator at 11. It also points out that ActiveState was founded in 1997, making it just one year younger than Kulchenko.

Kulchenko’s father, Paul, is an artificial intelligence and robotics researcher at the University of Washington.

We emailed with Daniil Kulchenko this morning about the deal, but he wasn’t available for a full interview because he was, interestingly enough, on his way to school.

In a blog post, Kulchenko writes that he’s received “immense feedback’ from Perl developers on the yet-to-be-released service. “… It’s easy to tell that the Perl community has long been searching for a simple way to manage Perl web apps in the cloud,” he wrote.

Previously on GeekWire: Watch the high school whiz kids who wowed Seattle Startup Weekend

  • Judgejennipher

    That’s impressive..

  • Judgejennipher

    That’s impressive..

  • Bakerannem

    Amazing. Can’t wait to see what he’s doing when he is my age.

    • http://twitter.com/simoncpu Simon C. P. Umacob

      Getting laid? :)

  • Johnp

    Well done & I look forward to seeing your next work!.
     
    My son is 12 and also on his way, in fact he just opened up a website www,clubpenguingraphicsshop.com and he does everything and has been programming in HTML, PHP,C++, Java, Adobe Photoshop Premier.

    If your kids are into Club Penguin he does Twitter & Youtube backgrounds for FREE and produced Club Penguin music videos.

  • Anonymous

    Very cool!

  • http://twitter.com/RedRussak Joshua ‘Red’ Russak

    I can’t wait for a world where geek-tech becomes the social norm in high-schools. Forget “Glee”. They should start a new one called “Gleek” ;)

  • http://twitter.com/RedRussak Joshua ‘Red’ Russak

    I can’t wait for a world where geek-tech becomes the social norm in high-schools. Forget “Glee”. They should start a new one called “Gleek” ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/efrizor Buntu Redempter

    Congratz.

  • http://twitter.com/billnordwall Bill Nordwall

    I worked with Paul back in our WaMu developer days. No surprise that his son is a badass as well :)

  • http://twitter.com/simoncpu Simon C. P. Umacob

    I’m 25, and I feel so old.

    • Jounky

      get laid

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations! This is an amazing feat at your age. I hope you go on to do bigger and better things. 
    PS. Take over microsoft

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations! This is an amazing feat at your age. I hope you go on to do bigger and better things. 
    PS. Take over microsoft

  • http://www.facebook.com/MollyHouse Molly House

    Usually I like to hate on these kinds of kids, but this is pretty fux0ring impressive….

  • http://www.facebook.com/MollyHouse Molly House

    Usually I like to hate on these kinds of kids, but this is pretty fux0ring impressive….

  • http://twitter.com/bcdady Bryan Dady

    I’m impressed with my Kenmore neighbor and his early success. Nicely done @dkulchenko:twitter; way to identify a need and fill it with a smart solution.

  • Anonymous

    That should pump him up pretty good with ego.  No matter what he does or what he gets going forward, it won’t be enough.  No doubt he’s smart and working hard, but who can he talk to that he won’t feel superior to?

  • Will Moss

    “We emailed with Daniil Kulchenko this morning about the deal, but he wasn’t available for a full interview because he was, interestingly enough, on his way to school.”

    Rofl

  • Nope

    What a shock.  A child succeeds in tech who has a father who is in a very technical field and has the guidance and resource and connections of his dad. Every time you hear a story about some teenager making it big in tech, you can guarantee at least one parent is also already established in that field. Kids like this don’t come out of nowhere. If this kid’s dad sold kitchen appliances for a living, this story wouldn’t exist.

    • Yup

      Except that he’s not an appliance salesman. Im not sure you have a point.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PKYHZLWZJWSPGZOZQ27RLEVVMY Yam

        The cry of the Ages of every jealous man. The so-called “point” that he is failing to get across is the same weary cry of the cowardly, the base, the lazy; That many of those who are “better off” or “rich” are that way because their family or fathers were rich.

        It is a tired and pathetic frame of mind that limits a man with a sense of pre-destination.

        For every thousand-thousand sons of a thousand-thousand fathers who are leaders, perhaps one may rise to his father’s place. For every one in a hundred of those, perhaps one may surpass.

        It is the will of boy’s heart and the drive of their mind that carries them forth. If there is any little credit to be given to a father, it is the environment they provide or withhold.

        • Graham Fox

          Holy crap, did you write the Bible?

          • mimotion

            Oh my God that cracked me up.  You are very funny GrahamFox.  And yes Yam is a very eloquent writer.

        • Beatthepumps
        • Bobvilla

          I think the point might be that a person who is emerged into an environment would be more prone to excell in that environment….. or what you said sounds crazy enough.

        • Anonymous

          It isn’t jealousy. That is such a tiresome accusation.

          *You* even substantiate what Nope said when you say this:

          “it is the environment they provide or withhold”

          Nope’s point was that if his father wasn’t in a technical field then the chances of this 15 year old doing something like this fall to very slim or zero.

          You see the same thing with young people that start businesses instead of going to work for someone else. Invariably their parents or someone close to them were also entrepreneurial.

    • Ej

      This is unnecessarily negative. I had a moderately successful shareware program at 15 (ended up paying expenses in collage) and the only contribution from my parents were a Mac, freedom and a compiler (before they were free).

      • Ej

        College

  • http://twitter.com/nancychowmein Nancy Xiao

    Congrats, this is an awesome feat!  Go Vikings!

  • http://1001-tricks.blogspot.com Hafis

    awesome Kid…

  • http://twitter.com/Seneca_V Seneca V

    Before we fall all over ourselves lavishing praise and admiration on this boy genius, it would be nice to know *how much* he received for his revolutionary company.  Conspicuously absent from this story is the actual price for this “yet to be released service”.  This story contains no relevant information at all.

    • Ni1z3r0

      We need more kids doing this kind of thing not less. If this kid’s product or this article encourages one other kid to do likewise, it will  put our nation one step closer to becoming ‘more competitive’ in this global marketplace.

      • steven xavier solipse

        Yes, lets give all the normal children inferiority complexes by demanding genius from each and every one of them.

  • FarrenWest

    Nice work ;-)

  • Eric Lee Parker

    Way to go Inglemoor Senior High School !!!   -Eric Class of 1980!

  • Anonymous

    Legend.

  • Anonymous

    Bakerannem you don’t have to wait that long in order to see it.  Let me help you out.  What did you do at his age? I bet you knew the answer.  Draw from that, where you were and where you are now, you surely can map out a reasonable trajectory of where he may be in your age… LMAO Billy Nguyen

  • Anonymous

    I want to know what % of the work and business side of it his father had. I call b-s on this story.

  • http://www.firstprop.in Bangalore Apartments

    That’s impressive and motivating story of 15 year old.