For someone who has started and sold two successful businesses, is taking computer science courses and starred in the movie The Indian in the Cupboard, Rishi Bhat is pretty down-to-earth. The 18-year-old chuckles when asked if he considers himself a genius, but how else can you describe someone who read software manuals as bedtime stories when he was 6 and sold his first company at age 16, in a deal worth $1.6 million?
Recognizing the need to protect privacy on the Internet, Bhat wrote the Internet privacy software that was to become SiegeSoft when he was 15 and had a little free time because a math class he'd planned on taking was canceled. It wasn't long before he was talking to an investor, Dave Hodge, who decided to purchase SiegeSoft. Not satisfied to rest on his laurels, the intrepid teen and his friend Chaitanya Mehra set to work on company No. 2, myEdesk.com, a program that allows you to access your desktop via any Web browser. Surprise, surprise: A casual conversation between Bhat and Hodge led the investor to buy myEdesk.com as well in 2000.
Now a high school senior, Bhat, who lives in Chicago, hopes to attend MIT in the fall and major in computer science and bioengineering. On the prospects of becoming an entrepreneur again, Bhat says: "All this stuff is just like me doing what I like to do. I mean, eventually I do want to be an entrepreneur [again]-I can't see myself working for anyone else." -Gisela M. Pedroza