Most 13-year-olds spend their time playing games and just trying to get through middle school. But not Shubham Banerjee. Instead, he founded his own company, Braigo Labs Inc.
The company, a producer of Braille printers, just received funding from Intel Capital, making Banerjee the youngest-ever recipient of venture funding from Intel. And he’s quite possibly the youngest-ever recipient of funding from any VC firm.
The idea for Banerjee’s innovative product came to him after a non-profit organization dropped off a flyer at his house. The flyer was asking for donations for an organization that helped the blind.
He became curious and asked his parents how blind people read. They encouraged him to do some research on Google. It was then that Banerjee learned about Braille. And he also learned that Braille printers cost upwards of $2,000.
It struck him that many people, particularly those who live in developing countries, wouldn’t be able to afford such an expensive device. He was sure that he could create a printer that would cost much less. So he turned to an unlikely tool — a LEGO kit.
He used LEGOs, paper and some weights to create a prototype Braille printer. He entered it in his school’s science fair and received a lot of positive reception. So he moved forward with his creation to receive the venture funding that may make him one for the record books. See him speak about his project at the Intel Capital Summit 2014 in the video below.
Though the final product won’t be made of LEGOs, it will be much less expensive than other Braille printers — right around $350. There’s clearly a need for such a device, since Braille is necessary for a lot of people. And there aren’t any options even remotely as inexpensive out there.
Banerjee can’t even read Braille. But he likes being able to help people with his innovation. He said at the Intel Capital Summit 2014:
“I was just trying to help people. I never thought it would come this far.”
Image: Video Still