Teen Raises $1M for Her Startup—Before Her 18th Birthday

Brienne Ghafourifar earned her undergraduate degree when she was just 17. Now, she's raised a million bucks to fund her startup. Look out world. There's no stopping this young woman.

About this sponsorship: In honor of the 60thanniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s historic ascent of Mount Everest, Patch and Grape-Nuts are teaming up to highlight those who inspire people around them to climb their own mountains.

Ambitious is one word that comes to mind when describing Brienne Ghafourifar, who succeeded in raising $1 million for her startup Entefy. This makes her the youngest college graduate to raise $1 million in funding.

Brienne, who graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in economics last June, co-founded the company with her brother Alston, 20. Brienne just turned 18 on April 29.

Aside from having to give up chocolate because she’s allergic, the biggest challenge she’s taken on was staying focused on finishing college while simultaneously dealing with all the excitement and energy needed when starting a company from scratch.

Entefy, a Palo Alto based company, integrates communications, search, and cloud storage.

She said their app would be similar to Google in that it promotes centralization, but that the problem she sees with Google is that nothing integrates or works together.

“Our product is a star,” she said. “It’s extremely beneficial just with the level of convenience, efficiency and centralization.”

Though in stealth mode right now, Entefy aims to be a single application that goes across multiple media platforms, such as e-mail, text, voice, video, social, search and storage into one entity.

Brienne said her company will also make privacy a priority--Entefy users' information will not be shared with outside parties.

So has her youth made it difficult for her to fundraise?

“I think once in a while there’s been concern over age, but I’ve gotten to work with visionary people,” she said. “There were some ups and downs, but we’ve been lucky we’ve gotten to work with the right people.”

The teen adds that her background has helped her succeed as well. Her parents, who raised Brienne and her brother in the Menlo Park area, own a series of businesses, including a venture architecture firm.

Brienne graduated from high school at the age of 15 through an accelerated high school program. Time is something that is of value to Brienne.

‘I was inspired to start Entefy because I saw that it would allow us to make a huge impact in a short amount of time,” she said. “Time is precious and I wanted the opportunity to take full advantage of every moment. That included going to school and co-founding a start up without having to choose one over the other.”

She looks forward to being able to vote and hopefully start driving once her birthday rolls around.

Where does she see herself in five years?

“Hoping far with Entefy since the opportunities are endless for a solution like this,” she said. “My dream is democratize access to information around the world and to break more barriers.”

Entefy is working out of rented space in the AOL office and hopes to bring on more hires to join their team.

“Looking back, the challenge of juggling college and a startup helped prepare me for what was coming next: Building a team, developing product, and raising capital,” she said.

“I see this $1 million milestone as only the next step in an ongoing journey. When it comes down to it, success can be defined by the impact you’re making—in your family, community, and the world. So while I celebrate the milestones along the way, I realize that this is just the beginning.” 

emme May 07, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Terry Tenzing May 07, 2013 at 02:09 PM
I would like to knownwhontonxontact about this sponsorship as my daughters grandfather was Sherpa Tenzing the first man to climb Mt Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary . We live locally. Thank you Terry Tenzing
Christa Bigue (Editor) May 07, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Hi Terry! Wow. I didn't know that. That's amazing. Thanks for letting us know. I will email you now and give you more details about this ongoing feature.
L.A. Chung May 07, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Echoing Christa Bigue, yes, we would love to be able to write about a local connection to the man who scaled Everest. That would be fantastic.
don May 07, 2013 at 09:54 PM
Oh my goodness yes. I would also love to hear about any local folks who have storys about their families historical experiences.
The Brand Man May 08, 2013 at 07:27 AM
I guess they forgot to mention her father is a very rich venture capitalist who sits on their board. That would have made the story less interesting. But hey, good for her! I also met Sir Ed many years ago. One of the nicest guys I've ever met.
Raleigh May 08, 2013 at 07:52 AM
Grape Nuts needs to improve on its taste in cereal, journalism, and determining what a hero is...so far they are zero for three.
Peter Goodman May 08, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Simple question. Who writes this crap?
ROBERT E. FISHBACK May 08, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Raleigh: They need to improve their name. Grape Nuts contains no grapes nor nuts.
Syrah May 08, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Brand Boy, this very well may be true, but at least this gal is on a mission. It's better than her being some burnout isn't it? Go girl, daddy's help or not!
Raleigh May 08, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Just as their cereal lacks grapes and nuts, their stories are sadly lacking significant heroes or accomplishments. True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. Arthur Ashe
M.Legison May 08, 2013 at 07:01 PM
The Patch has never been known for full disclosure, and if her father sits on the VC board that is a major omission. I do agree that at least she's doing something valuable and in the American spirit of growing a business, rather than growing massive bureaucracies.
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" May 08, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Paid Ad That is fine it is like the Dipstick on the Radio saying he used the Windows, his station is pimping and they are the greatest. Most of what you see and hear in any media is a paid ad.
Camaro on Cinderblocks May 09, 2013 at 05:30 AM
If daddy warbucks story is true...this article should be taken off the site.
Fiona Hamilton May 09, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Wow so much cynicism about a motivated young lady. The fact she graduated at 17 should quell some of this cynicism, surely? Should we discount all those politicians who grow up with silver spoons in their mouths and feel entitled to end up in politics?
Harold Edwards May 09, 2013 at 09:40 PM
This is the new American way,kick em when their up,kick em when their down.Old or young look for the negative,don't look for the positive.Anybody who can raise a million dollar's I tip my hat to.Young or old,rich or poor,silver spoon or plastic spoon.
Sylvia Lazo May 10, 2013 at 02:39 AM
What in the world does it matter to any of you whether or not her parent(s) are on the board? You may thin k you know something but in reality you know nothing at all......about her, about her father, OR about just plain being positive in an already overly-negative, complaining, ignorant world.
don May 10, 2013 at 03:48 AM
Sylvia; You are absolutely correct with your statement. The above negative posters are jealous and fearful of what this young woman has accomplished. Her dad may have guided and advised but I am sure that is all. People in her dads position get to where they are through hard work and tenacity. The above negative posters, I am sure, couldn't have accomplished what this young woman did even with lots of help! why? because of their attitude towards life. They will always be stuck in the same rut. The only thing greater then their fear is their ignorance. I say good for you young lady. go go go!
Agegapsingles Club May 19, 2013 at 10:04 AM
I do agree that at least she's doing something valuable and in the American spirit of growing a business, rather than growing massive bureaucracies.
Marshall Sam McCloud May 19, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Congratulations young lady. Actually I'm going to record the name of this new site so that I can try it when it comes out. I like the anti-facebookish idea of privacy you're bringing to your new software.
Christopher Carter May 20, 2013 at 11:19 AM
i graduated before i was 17, i made over a million since that day through the stock market, why am i not mentioned anywhere at all.. Damn im sad, but dont worry one day all of you will know me :)


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