Dublin teenager's software a capital idea for Web Summit
WHILE MOST Leaving Certificate students spent their after-school hours yesterday winding down or doing homework, one Dublin teenager was busy hobnobbing with venture capitalists at the Dublin Web Summit in an effort to “increase the customer base and brand recognition” for his company Zorin.
Sixteen-year-old Artyom Zorin, who developed an operating system to rival Microsoft Windows with his brother Kyrill (18), met investors yesterday to promote his software, which has quickly become one of the most popular of its type.
And there was no better place to do so than the Web Summit, which has seen the best and brightest of both Irish and global tech firms over the last two days. It has attracted more than 4,000 visitors from more than 50 countries to the RDS.
Artyom, a student at St Conleth’s Secondary School in Ballsbridge, and his brother, a Trinity College student, released the first version of their Zorin Operating System four years ago; the sixth version was released this year.
Their version of Linux attracts almost 800 visitors per day on the respected Linux site Distrowatch, and is one of the top 10 most popular types of this software globally.
Linux is an operating system developed as a rival to Microsoft Windows and is also used on Android mobile phones.
Reviewers have said the teenagers’ version comes closer to recreating the Windows system than any other Linux distribution.
“When I was 12 I tried the Ubuntu Operating System and I really liked it as it was fast and immune to viruses, but I felt it was aimed at computer geeks and not so easily accessible to mere mortals,” says Artyom.
“We decided to build on it and make it easier to use and more user-friendly, as people like my dad, who isn’t technically savvy, found it difficult to use.”
The system has three versions: a free version; a premium version, which costs €7 to download; and an ultimate version, which costs €10 to download. “We don’t want any funding from venture capitalists, we just want to make contacts to increase our brand recognition for the future. We would ultimately like to get into supplying software for the likes of Dell. A lot of companies have already contacted us about it.”
The brothers are also in the process of developing software specifically for smaller businesses.
Although Artyom is only 16, he’s had no shortage of people asking him for a job.
“People are always asking me for a job,” he says. “They all predict that I will be a billionaire.”