A 16-year-old AI entrepreneur has secured $450,000 in funding for her technology startup. While many high school students are focused on escaping extra credit assignments, Pranjali Awasthi has been envisioning how her AI technology could enhance search engines. Remarkably, she’s chosen to forgo college in pursuit of ensuring her tech innovations have a global impact.
Interestingly, it took an unforeseen global event for this 16-year-old to realize her ambitions. During the pandemic, she had to switch to virtual learning, which led to an internship at Florida International University. In her role, which required up to 20 hours of work per week in research labs, she was responsible for data extraction and writing literature reviews. It was during this time that she had a groundbreaking idea.
Despite her relatively short time as an intern, she recognized the challenges people face in finding what they’re looking for using search engines. This prompted her to found Delv.AI, a company that employs machine learning to extract data.
A year later, at Hack Week in Miami, she connected with investors from Back End Capital who were enthusiastic about supporting her venture. In exchange for a small equity stake in her future company, she joined a 12-week residency program, HFO, to refine her technical skills.
Her hard work paid off, and in 2021, she launched a beta version of Delv.AI online. Since then, the 16-year-old has secured multiple investors and raised over $450,000 for her startup. Experts now value her company at approximately $12 million.
Awasthi’s dedication to her company has led her to choose tech entrepreneurship over a traditional college experience. She is actively managing various aspects of her business, including HR and operations. Convincing her parents, who prioritize academics, was a challenge. Although they reached a compromise regarding her high school education, they have come to terms with the fact that she won’t be applying to college in the near future.
With her company rapidly growing, there’s speculation about whether Awasthi could become the next AI billionaire.