Teenage tech tycoon in the making

He's 15 years old and he's been given $80K in venture capital

Age is no bar to ambition. Luke McIntyre is just 15, but he has quit secondary school to try to make his mark in the business world of information technology.

"I saw an opportunity to make money at my age," he says. "It's an industry that allows young people to get in."

Like many youngsters, he had been doing odd jobs for friends and relatives, fixing their PCs from the age of 13. "I was doing web design and general troubleshooting."

But when he came under the direction of Wanganui Collegiate head of Commerce Mark Wilson in the fourth form (Year 10), he began to see the commercial possibilities of his work and started developing products to fit the upcoming 4G networks.

McIntyre approached a small Christchurch communications company. It liked his PowerPoint presentation and agreed to form a joint venture company, providing $20,000 in development funds.

But in these uncertain economic times, the funding ran out. Then a Wanganui schoolmate's father came to the rescue, arranging $80,000 in venture capital funding from the US.

The father, who doesn't want to be named, had gone into business himself at the age of 15 and liked McIntyre's ambition.

A parent company, Omex Communications, was formed and under it Omex Integrated Solutions.

Mark Major, who had consulted to the original joint venture, came on board as general manager. With a degree in commerce and having launched two previous businesses, he brought commercial nous and rigour to the operation.

McIntyre, who is the managing and technical director, says the 4G LTE product proved non-commercial at this stage, as this country does not have the infrastructure to support it.

He had been working on several other products, based on IPTV, voice over IP and internet access.

The first, in trial, is a hotel guest portal where the guest can access services across a city, rather than just what the hotel provides.

"It doesn't cost the hotel much because it is a cloud-based model," he says. "We're hosting it ourselves.

"LTE is now further down the track but we'll cross the services over when it is time."

Omex is also offering a voice over IP solution for five to 20 users, and project management for Software as a Service.

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Tags business issuespersonneltelecommunicationOmex Communicationsmobile

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