The ability to find solutions to problems and shoot for seemingly unobtainable goals has rubbed off on all three Jain children. Ankur Jain graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania while both Priyanka and Neil Jain graduated from Stanford.
Priyanka helped build a school for girls in Afghanistan when she was only 14 years old. Both Neil and Ankur work at Kairos, a startup incubator founded by Ankur that supports businesses that tackle global problems.
Ankur, whose own startup Humin was acquired by Tinder in 2016, created his first company when he was 10 years old. Despite having a billionaire father, Ankur says that his parents were often strict on not spending money frivolously. So when he wanted something that wasn’t essential or beneficial for education, it had to come out of his own pocket.
Ten-year-old Ankur had one goal in mind: He wanted to dunk a basketball.
As a “skinny little Indian kid,” in Ankur’s words, he knew he had little chance of making the basketball team. But there was one product on the market that promised to improve his chances. “I read online about these plyometric things you can wear on your shoes to help your vertical jump,” Ankur recalls. “They were like $110 and my parents wouldn’t buy them for me.”
That didn’t deter Ankur. Instead, he decided to be like his father. He started his own company, but instead of finding an industry he knew nothing about, he concentrated on something every 10-year-old kid was into at the time, and created a quiz-based portal for AOL Instant Messenger. In Ankur’s words, it exploded in popularity. Using this newfound success, Ankur made his move.
“I called the company that made these plyometric things and asked for the CEO and somehow the assistant put me on the phone with the guy,” says Ankur. “I told him about my portal and said I’d love to do some promotion of their product through my portal, but he needed to send me a free pair as payment.”
Ankur didn’t land his moonshot. He didn’t develop calves of steel or become the next Vince Carter.
“I never dunked,” Ankur says. “But I did touch the rim.”
Related: Naveen Jain Has Crazy Dreams
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo by ©Mark Perlstein