03 Apr Startup Series K-12 Winner: Sand Springs sophomore creating app for runners
Jaelyn Jackson always has liked to gut any gadget he could get his hands on.
“I started fixing iPhones when I was like 10 or 11,” said the sophomore from Charles Page High School. “I know iPhones inside and out.
“Any time I got something for Christmas, like if it was a new toy, within about two or three weeks I would take it apart. I love figuring out how things work. I love teaching myself new things. Technology has just always intrigued me.”
Jackson, 16, recently combined his curious and entrepreneurial sides to make a pitch.
With an app he is developing called Runners Drone, Jackson last week won the K-12 category at the Tulsa StartUp Series at 36 Degrees North. He earned $2,500 for product advancement, a three-month membership to 36 Degrees North, a spot in the Venture Assessment Program at i2e and a mentor for at least three months.
The StartUp Series, which stretches into November, is a program of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation and is powered by Cox Media, Cox Business and the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at OSU. It was designed to deliver resources and mentoring opportunities to entrepreneurs.
Jackson’s app idea grew partly from his passion for running. He is a member of the high school track and cross country teams.
“To me, I’m pretty fast,” he said Wednesday during an interview at his high school. “So a lot of the times, it was hard for me to have competition racing people. I’m not saying I’m the best, necessarily.
“But when you’re near the top, there’s no one there to push you.”
With Runners Drone, an unmanned aerial vehicle will hover near the athlete, acting as a pacesetter, Jackson said. Other features could include a Smart watch that could vibrate and alert the runner when the drone is getting too close, he said.
“It incorporates two things I like — technology and running,” he said. “This kind of seemed like the perfect choice.”
Judges, who huddled after last week’s event to tally scores, said Jackson’s device showed promise.
“I did like that he took technology that was current and growing and saw a way to use that technology,” one judge said. “I thought that was interesting.”
Jackson is eager to surround himself with the expertise it takes to refine his product and take it to the marketplace.
“My mentality is ‘I want to start now,’ ” he said. “I don’t want to wait until I’m 20 or 30 to do something. I want to start making my business happen by the time I’m out of college.”
Original article was published in the Tulsa World and can be found Here