"Whiz kid" hardly describes young tech entrepreneur Connor Zwick. "Prodigy" would be a better word. At 19, Zwick and his business partner Colton Gyulay are launching the Coco Controller, a mobile video game controller that fits over your smartphone. While launching a company before graduating college is an impressive feat in itself, the Coco Controller isn't even Zwick's first venture.
According to Buzzfeed, Australia-based tech site Nettuts.com saw Zwick's skill at hacking apart computers and tried to hire him as a writer -- before realizing he was just 13. During his senior year of high school, he built the iPhone app Flashcards+, which has since been downloaded more than a million times. That same year, Zwick was accepted to Harvard and the startup incubator Y Combinator. But Harvard will have to wait for the young tech whiz -- after one year on campus, he took a leave of absence. As a Thiel fellow, he will postpone his education for two years to give try his hand at entrepreneurship. The fellowship also comes with a $100,000 grant.
In spite of Zwick's promise, the Thiel fellowship, now in its second year, does not have a perfect track record for employment. Of the five former fellows interviewed by Inc. Magazine, only one reported earning an income.
”I was flying back to school with Colton, my fellow cofounder, and I was trying to play a game on my iPhone. And it was terrible,” Zwick said in an interview with VentureBeat. “So I said half-jokingly, ‘This is going to be my next project, what Coco is today.’ I developed a prototype in the weeks following, and we decided to pursue it full-time over this summer. “
Coco isn't the first attempt at a game controller for the iPhone. Other developers have created their own models and Apple is rumored to have one in the works. But Zwick's version is leading the pack, featuring a sleek design, compatibility with a variety of phones, a reasonable price of $35, and a multitude of available games.
To learn more about his project, listen to Zwick speak about the Thiel fellowship in the video above and visit his Kickstarter page.
"None of the previous attempts have gotten the successful games," Zwick told Buzzfeed. "We have 30 games [signed on to Coco] and around 10 of them have been the most popular games. We're also talking to big studios. By the time people have these in their hands, there will be hundreds, if not thousands of games that work with this."
What do you think about Zwick leaving Harvard to be an entrepreneur? What would you have done, if given the choice? Sound off in the comments below or tweet @HuffPostTeen.
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