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Ben Kaufman started his first company - an iPhone accessories business that eventually created the popular Mophie battery pack - while still in school.
In order to get the funding he needed, he convinced his parents to re-mortgage their house.
"I've raised a lot of money since then, and I joke that the hardest money I ever raised was from my parents," says Mr Kaufman, 26, the founder of Quirky, a US technology company that aims to make invention accessible to ordinary people.
"They put me through the wringer - they made me write a business plan and the whole thing," he says with a laugh.
I'm a little quirky - when people tell me I'm crazy it just makes me want to do it more”
Armed with that business plan, the teenage Mr Kaufman boarded a plane to China, intent on seeing his product - initially, a lanyard that would conceal his iPod headphones so that he could listen to music unobserved during his school maths class - come to fruition.
"It was about 48 hours into [the trip] that I realised all of the things standing in my way had nothing to do with money. That the realities and the complexities of actually bringing a product to life were vast."
Mr Kaufman says he got lucky, in that everything went according to plan with the manufacturers and the suppliers in the facility he chose in Shenzhen, China.
But it was there that the seeds for his current venture were planted - a means to help people collaborate on inventions to more easily bring them to market.
Today, Mr Kaufman is the head of Quirky, which he founded after he sold Mophie in 2007.
His goal, born of his school struggles, is to make sure that anyone with a great idea for a consumer product can get that product made, regardless of cost or logistical hurdles.
Housed on the seventh floor of a former marine terminal on Manhattan's West Side, visitors to Quirky's offices are warned at ground level that while deliveries and humans are welcome, "suits" should "go away".
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