Vinay Gidwaney, 20
Vinay Gidwaney wrote the software that his Calgary, Alberta, high school used to teach his classmates word processing. Resellers expressed interest, and Gidwaney, only 16, started a small company to supply it. But he found himself spending a lot of time meeting customer requests. Youthfully impatient and eager to reserve his time for writing code, he created software tools to automatically handle certain customer support tasks .Gidwaney soon realized he could develop versions of the software tools to sell to other companies, to enable them to provide live support to their customers over the Internet. So the Canadian started Control-F1 in Calgary. Gidwaney, chief technology officer of the 40-person company, calls his tools “better than being there.” That’s because a remote customer can continue to work on her computer while Control-F1 software is solving her support problem in the background: no need for her to step away from the computer for a human technician. Several organizations now use Control-F1 to provide customer support, including Novell, Unisys and IBM.