Meet the 6-year-old entrepreneur who just wowed Startup Weekend

While checking out the action at Seattle Startup Weekend’s closing event Sunday, I stole a moment to sit down with the weekend’s youngest presenter Ashwin Gowland (also known as “Gap Tooth Kid”).

Ashwin, just six-years old, presented his idea for washable stickers complete with slide deck and an easy confidence that won him the coveted “Most Likely to be the Next Zuckerberg” award.

Here’s crowd-favorite Ashwin (with a little help from Mom) talking about his experience at Startup Weekend.

“He was definitely the youngest and most articulate entrepreneur in training that I know of at a Startup Weekend,” Marc Nager, the executive director of Startup Weekend, tells GeekWire.

You can follow Ashwin and his big smile on Twitter @gaptoothkid.


Meanwhile, here’s the full pitch and a blog post from Dwight Battle who talks about what it was like working with Ashwin during the event.


Michelle Riggen-Ransom is a curious writer, a passionate start-up founder and a lifelong teller of stories and adventures. She runs Social Glu communications consulting and spends much of her time drinking coffee, looking out at the unending majesty of Puget Sound and thinking about going to hot yoga.

  • http://www.about.me/tgowland Tara Gowland

    Thank you for the great article Michelle and Ashwin really loved the MailChimp hat :)

    • http://twitter.com/mriggen MichelleRiggenRansom

      Thanks Tara! So great to meet you guys!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=94500172 Kyle Kesterson

    Best boss ever. One of my favorite moments of the weekend was when I sent over an illustration for Ashwin to review, and his assistant (mom) got back to me and said that Ashwin would take a look as soon as he is finished napping. :D

    It’s fun and cute on the surface, but this kid is incredibly sharp and bound for greatness.

    • http://www.about.me/tgowland Tara Gowland

       Thank you – you’re pretty sharp yourself :) Ashwin

    • http://giftguy.co/ Stephen Medawar

      More entrepreneurs need to learn to take a nap or two. He’s lightyears ahead of the game. 

  • http://www.about.me/tgowland Tara Gowland

     Problem with our Twitter account folks – please follow Ashwin @gaptoothkid1 and at http://www.gaptoothstickers.com Thanks a million guys!

    • http://www.about.me/tgowland Tara Gowland

       Twitter is back up :) Please find Ashwin @gaptoothkid:twitter

  • That Guy

    “He was definitely the youngest and most articulate entrepreneur in training that I know of at a Startup Weekend” – Marc Nager … Really? I can see youngest, but most articulate?  The kid is 6, how articulate can he be? It certainly didn’t show in the videos. I get trying to encourage a kid, but piling on mounds of undue adulation will only serve to hurt this kid in the long run. Real success takes real work, above and beyond the work his mother does for him. I’m not trying to be cruel to children here, but this clear imbalance calls for a reality check: 1) he’s six. 2) he can talk on a microphone. 3) he probably had an idea that his mother (Tara Gowland, a startup professional) molded into an actual good idea, a pitch, a product, a website, a twitter handle, etc. 
    Tara, I totally understand wanting to give your kid a leg-up, a kick-start… but let’s not work him like a puppet ok?

    • http://www.about.me/tgowland Tara Gowland

      HA! Gotta love the haters. Firstly, this is 100% his own idea that was not molded at all by anyone including myself – and in fact I pitched his second idea – Sky Pals which again was all his own as well. Kyle Kesterson and Dwight Battle – two of Seattle’s best designers offered to help and so no, the logo and all the design work was not done by Ashwin. Did I help him a little with his pitch? Sure – but everything including the idea and the words are all his :)

      • http://giftguy.co/ Stephen Medawar

        Tara I think it’s clear that Ashwin should have been playing XBOX or constructing Legos instead of attending a clearly exhausting (and educational) event. I think we can all agree that early entrepreneurial education is detrimental to society. It leads to future entrepreneurship. That leads to job growth and THAT leads to macroeconomic growth. And THAT leads to inflation. 

        Don’t try to promote inflation Tara.

        (I don’t think I need to point out my sarcasm)

      • http://twitter.com/UUrayan Ryan Esaki

        I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical too because having a 6 year old pitch your idea is sort of diabolically evil genius in a way, so thanks for coming in and clarifying that it was his idea. It’s great to see that there is still hope for the younger generation! Hopefully he can continue to see problems in his world and believe he should be the one to fix them. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=94500172 Kyle Kesterson

      Yeah, you’re definitely that guy.

      I will say that the first night he pitched (not on video), it was very articulate and stopped the whole room in its tracks. He identified a real problem, had a logical solution, and said what other markets it could expand into. His pitch was at its core, better formulated than most, which were scrambled and over-intellectualized by other participants. 

      The flow of the pitch you see in the video was disrupted because the crowd’s response to his first line was a roar, and he kept on speaking to the problem, but then Tara reached out to have Ashwin slow down so that the crowd could hear. It wasn’t because he didn’t know what he was talking about or wanted to get across.

      It’s easy to say that his mother did it all for him, until you actually have a conversation with Ashwin. You can see the wheels spinning in his brain, and the second he got bored, he was asking his mom to plot down a handful of math problems to solve. That’s a hobby of his, at 6. 

      To end this, I’d just like to say, never have children, and quite being a douche.

  • DejaVu

    Great sport for a six year old.

    Mom, at least you are getting some pub.