Young Millionaires

Mike McLane, 35; Ray Nelson Jr., 35; And Ranjy Thomas, 31

By Nichole L. Torres

Sure, learning can be fun. But convincing parents and teachers that flashy animation is educational can be tough. Just ask Mike McLane, Ray Nelson Jr. and Ranjy Thomas, the leaders of Portland, Oregon-based Flying Rhinoceros Inc. and creators of the CBS cartoon Flying Rhino Jr. High (which even had a Baskin-Robbins flavor, Rhinorageous, named after it).

Founded in 1993, Flying Rhinoceros started creating learning materials-following strict educational standards-after Nelson noticed the boring textbooks children had to use. Applying entertainment to education isn't new (think Schoolhouse Rock), but the Flying Rhino trio proved the market's far from dead: 2000 sales are estimated to reach $12 million.

Now the trio plans to conquer the Web at, where people can access online lessons and learning materials. Says McLane, "At the end of the day, we're loved by kids, trusted by parents and needed by teachers."

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This article was originally published in the November 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Young Millionaires.

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