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Venture Capital: 18-year-old Polish CEO Received $150,000 to Improve His Messaging App For The Deaf Community

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February 2
6:34 AM 2016

Mateusz Mach, an 18-year-old entrepreneur from Poland announced that his app has secured about $150,000 funding in venture capital. Mach is a CEO of his app called Five released in 2015. The app enables users to communicate through hand signs and has been considered very useful for the hard of hearing.

Mach told Business Insider how he managed to raise that much money to support his business. "I simply messaged almost every venture capital firm in Poland," he said. Then he underwent all the process including meetings with investors, which he described as very stiff and formal, unlike what he imagined happened in Silicon Valley. He also explained his long effort of composing firm business plans, pitch decks, term sheets, as well as convincing investors that his young age would not hold him back in developing the company professionally.

The high school student also explained that securing $150,000 from investors in venture capital is much harder in Poland as it is in California. Mach said that most venture capitalists are attached with nationalized funds from the European Union, making the process a lot more complex and difficult to go through.

According to Health24, the Five app was initially launched by Mach with freelance developers as a silly playful app where the main goal is simply to enable communication with custom hip hop style hand gestures. Mach had the idea of building such app because he is a big fan of rap and hip-hop culture. The app could store thousands of custom hand sign and combinations.

Mach didn't see the huge opportunity that lies within his own app until the deaf community contacts him to thank the Polish boy for creating an app that has been very useful to them. Hearing loss has been a barrier to proper communication for the deaf, and the Five app has given them the opportunity to communicate remotely with hand sign, just like they would face-to-face.

Responses from the deaf community inspired Mach to develop the app for a wider and more practical use, especially for the deaf. According to Daily Dot Tech, he will use the funds he received to develop the app's dictionary of sign language in International Sign Language (ISL) and American Sign Language (ASL) so the app would be available for users worldwide.

Mach is determined to finish his study in high school and attend college while managing his business. The app has been receiving positive responses from users, especially from the deaf community and now Mach has a more purposeful cause with the Five app, with the help of the fundings from investors.

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