iStyla: Jacques Blom

iStyla: Jacques Blom


Entrepreneur heard about a remarkable 14-year old boy who presented at the Cape Town Entrepreneurship Week (CTEW) in November 2012, through fellow entrepreneur, Jess Green.

While most kids are content to go to school and hang out, grade eight Jacques Blom spotted a business opportunity after discovering an app to change the look of his Facebook profile was a scam. So the coding whizz built his own Facebook app by himself instead.

The next Zuckerberg

New users sign up via Facebook and instal themes from iStyla. When users visit pages of other iStyla users, their pages temporarily change to match. Users can also design new styles, and an affiliate programme allows them to earn money based on how many new people they refer to iStyla. Currently, the site has 3 000 users and thousands of Likes.

Like Facebook, the site uses a freemium model, not charging for anything yet. But like Facebook in its early days, all that’s needed is a little traction.

Which is where the CTEW comes in: investor Permjot Valia tweeted during the presentation that he thought he’d found his next investment, followed by, “Well – made the offer to him and his parents. Big decision for them. Would be my first investment in a 14-year old!” And he’s certainly raised the bar for what a kid can accomplish.

Nadine Todd
Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.