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Science & Technology

Teenage Entrepreneur Wins Big In Tech Market

Jud Bowman; CEO of Appia

In the late '90s the Internet was king and everybody wanted a piece of it. Jud Bowman was a student at the North Carolina School of Science and Math when he had an idea for an Internet start up. It was called Motricity, and he managed to get investors onboard before things went south in the Internet market.

We were extraordinarily lucky to have raised the $5 million right before the bubble burst. -- Jud Bowman

  “We were extraordinarily lucky to have raised the $5 million right before the bubble burst ,” he said.

Still, he wasn’t able to get Motricity off the ground. It was an idea before its time. After his money ran out, Bowman went to Stanford to continue his education, but he didn’t feel right. Then one morning, he heard the sound that would change his life.

“That was one of those crazy moments in your life… it’s 8 am and the alarm clock goes off… the alarm was karaoke music.”

His roommate tossed him this clam shell cell phone -- the "alarm clock" -- from Japan that was stocked with ringtones. And Bowman had an idea.

“For me, it really was like a sign,” he said.

He went back to work on Motricity and eventually became one of the biggest players on the ringtone market. Not content with this success, he eventually decided to start another company: Appia.

"I was starting to get the entrepreneurial itch to do something new and fresh," he said.

Inspired by the Apple App Store, he realized that apps were the next big thing and created his company, which is now one of the largest open app marketplaces in the world.

Jud Bowman delivers the commencement speech for the class of 2008 at North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

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