Manzi the magnificent: From millionaire at 16 to incredible IoT inventor

A self-made millionaire by 16, Jonathan Manzi is no ordinary entrepreneur. Now 31, the past 15 years have seen him start an energy drink business but shutter it once he realized that there wasnt enough of the required kava-plant ingredient in the world to feed his ambitions of competing against Gatorade.

Becoming the youngest bar owner in San Francisco at 22, Manzi went on to create a robotic FedEx-like printing office with his company INK and later launch Beyond Protocol, a blockchain that styles itself as the internet for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Whether its a biometric suit that records the vital signs of Cage The Elephants lead singer or an electric vehicle charging system spreading across Slovenia, Manzi the magnificent continues to create opportunities for machines and devices to talk and interact via blockchain as they emerge from the old internet.

Teenage millionaire

Manzi grew up in a small town in Massachusetts near Salem, where the witch trials happened many years ago. His first foray into business came about while in high school in 2007 when he started an internet marketing company called Vintage Network based on ad serving technology. He says the challenge and joy of problem-solving got me working 20 hour days to continue to build it. Solving problems was not the only reward, as Manzi found himself a millionaire at a mere 16 years of age.

Of such wealth at a young age, Manzi explains that he largely compartmentalized his success, buying only a used BMW in order to go snowboarding in New Hampshire.



Biometric suit records the vital signs of Cage The Elephants lead singer. Source: Beyond Protocol via Twitter



There was a kind of a sense of Im doing something different versus others, but I hope you know I still feel very connected to the others, he explains of his experience of trying to live a normal teenage life as an internet millionaire. Eventually, he found his people entrepreneurs and hacker-types.

We had a $5 million in revenue by the time I finished high school

As he finished secondary education with a multi-million dollar business, Manzi felt that he had pigeonholed himself in this kind of niche internet marketing world. Wanting to move beyond its limits, he applied to Stanford believing that it was where all the innovation was happening. Predictably enough, he was accepted.

As Manzi started his management science and engineering and philosophy degree in 2009 in the depths of the Great Recession, he sold his stake in Vintage Network as it faced turbulence due to businesses cutting their marketing spend. He soon also decided to drop out of university because though he enjoyed the academic environment, he felt he could probably read those books and do it on a different schedule while continuing on his entrepreneurial journey.



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