-- Growing up in a car-centric city like Los Angeles, where you’re pretty much stuck in your neighborhood hanging out with the same people all the time, led Daniel Singer, 16, to create Bond, an app that allows users to meet interesting people outside their social circles.
“I'll see lots of people and I just know that there's someone who's super cool who I should know,” Daniel told ABC News. “That frustrates me. I'm like, I wish I could have those moments more often, in which I meet great people.”
Daniel’s love of tech began when he was 11 years old. Computers were things he understood very easily, and he was able to use them to help convey his thoughts and emotions in ways he wasn’t able to before. Becoming a tech entrepreneur was the next logical step in his life, especially after teachers mentioned he should drop out of school and start pursuing his dreams.
“Some teachers said that Daniel is just overqualified in class,” Uri Singer, Daniel’s father, said. “When the dean of Harvard-Westlake came to us and said that he's wasting his time and he should go and pursue his dreams, we were surprised. I said, ‘You're the teacher. That's what you tell us?’ She said, ‘Yes.’”
Leaving school was a difficult decision for Daniel, who sought advice from his parents and people in the tech industry, including his mentor, Shabih Rizvi, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
"The one worry I had for Daniel was this ultimately meant he wasn't going to get a chance to live out this last year of youth that he's got,” Rizvi said. “Because he's going to be focused on all the things that an entrepreneur focuses on, which is 'I need to build my company, to hire talent, I need to get my product out the door, I need to be successful.'"
Daniel’s father, a film producer, understood that the tools his son needed to succeed in the tech industry would not be found in high school. Daniel’s mother, Rosalee Singer, on the other hand, needed some convincing.
“I still have that traditional way of thinking that you have to pursue your education and then you get started on the market,” she said. “But he convinced me.”
“After a day or two of talking, I dropped out of high school,” Daniel said.
Daniel then started on his dream of creating Bond. But he first needed to find a co-founder, someone who could help bring his idea to life, as coding was not his strength. He found his coder and co-founder in Shane Milldam, a recent college graduate.
“When he pitched the idea to me, I was intrigued,” Milldam said. “He really satisfied all my questions and answers, but what I cared about more, trying to find a co-founder, is someone who would learn quickly and find new ways to use that knowledge in the next step. That's what I saw in Daniel and that's what made me say, ‘All right, let's do this,’ from the first day.”
“Me and Shane have perfected a way of working together and shipping product very quickly and at a very high level of quality that we're happy with,” Daniel said.
And so they built Bond. Bond works as a matchmaking app, whether you want to just make new friends or find a date.
“You might be at a nightclub or a bar or a party,” Daniel said. “You're just going to open up Bond and either get introduced to someone interesting there or if someone catches your eye, you can swipe on them and possibly get a match. Or let's say we're at home right now and tonight we want to go out somewhere. We find the venues that are best for you and we show you who else is going there so you can find people who we think you'll get along with. Then when you take a free Uber on us to the venue, with you or some of your friends, you're able to use Bond just like before. Open it up, get introduced to great people there, or swipe on people who catch your eye. That's basically how Bond works.”
Daniel’s parents believe in their son so much that they decided to give him the money to help start his new company.
“Supporting Daniel's decision to pursue his dreams, we decided that we will give him the seed round whenever we can for his ventures,” Uri said. “And we told him that the partners are his brothers as well. He didn't like that very much, but he understood that. As parents, we are very proud that he's happy, and he does what he likes. For us, seeing Daniel happy and flourish in what he does, whether it's successful financially or not, that doesn't bother us or him. He's still not even 17. He has enough time to worry about that.”
“I just hope I can build great products that make me happy,” Daniel said. “That makes the people that use the product happy, and just try and become a better person.”
ABC News' Angel Canales and Olivia Smith contributed to this report.