A pair of Indian American high school students in San Jose, California, have created a nonprofit with the goal of helping high school and college students build and launch new technology ideas.
Founded by high school students Nikhil Sharma and Arnav Joshi, 18Tech Ventures was launched in early 2018 while the two were just sophomores.
Sharma and Joshi were both high school sophomores when they ran the first annual HarkerHacks hackathon – invention fairs for students to work with each other to develop technology-related products, while also being provided with info from speakers and workshops – at The Harker School.
While their event was a success, they realized that many other events in areas with fewer tech connections struggled to gain access to the same resources that made HarkerHacks possible, according to information provided to India-West.
Realizing the significance of this issue, Sharma and Joshi co-founded the 18Tech Ventures at the end of their sophomore year, whose mission is to help both high school and college students across the nation create and launch the next great technology ideas.
Initially they worked to accomplish this goal by providing financial, legal, marketing, and organizational support to hackathons across the country.
Through this program, they helped connect events in areas such disparate areas as Ontario, Texas, and New Jersey to resources to allow students to run their own hackathons, giving participants amazing opportunities to build and innovate, it said.
In their first year, they helped run over 40 hackathons nationwide, impacting over 10,000 students. The events collectively raised close to $500,000 around the U.S. and Canada to spread tech education, UTDHacks (University of Texas Dallas’ college hackathon), H2Hacks in New York, and dozens of other events in less-connected regions of the country.
18Tech has since its founding impacted thousands of high-school and college students. Additionally, to help continue the innovative spirit at these events, 18Tech provides patent help and mentorship to many of the participants, helping them get dozens of patents collectively.
After a year of helping spread high school innovation through hackathons, Sharma and Joshi decided to go a step further and directly help students build their product ideas.
In order to make this possible, 18Tech Ventures connects young engineers to mentors, as well as helps them overcome the legal barriers of incorporation, taxes, and filing for patents.
Now, as rising seniors going forward into the next year, Sharma and Joshi aim to continue helping both hackathons and young entrepreneurs in order to further their mission of “democratizing the process of entrepreneurship for all students, regardless of background.”