Silicon Valley teenager on her third start-up

(Facebook)

May 5, 2010 7:45:05 PM PDT
Diane Keng was working the expo floor Wednesday at the Web 2.0 Expo at Moscone West. She is the co-founder and marketing chief for the latest Silicon Valley start-up, housed in a garage in Cupertino. Her venture is a website called MyWeboo.com; it aggregates profiles, text, photos and video for posting on multiple social networking sites, such as Facebook and Picasa.

What sets Diane apart from others staffing exhibit booths is that she was supposed to be in class Wednesday at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino. However, 18-year-old Diane is no ordinary senior heading to college in the fall.

"The thing is that you don't tell them that you're in high school until after they are impressed with you," Diane said. "That's kind of the idea, you walk in there and act like every other professional human being."

This is the third start-up of her high school career. Her first was a t-shirt business, followed by a marketing research firm that focused on teens. Both were short-lived.

This time, Diane turned to a hard-nosed venture capitalist for seed money -- her father, Brian Keng. He put in $100,000, but only after he asked tough questions about the business plan.

Diane's older brother, Steven, is the co-founder of MyWeboo.com. The siblings had to work hard to satisfy their dad before he would back them.

Being 18 shouldn't a problem for Diane, according to tech evangelist Tim O'Reilly, who noted that Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg was 20 years old when he started the social networking site while a student at Harvard.

"Brilliant individuals can be any age; sometimes there's an advantage coming fresh at something," O'Riley said.

Diane acknowledges her venture isn't making money yet, but she claims it will once it catches on and gets lots of users. The money will come from advertising sales. Down the road, like many entrepreneurs, she hopes the site will be snatched up by a larger company.


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