Jud Bowman, 22
Wrote software that is accelerating the expansion of wireless networking
Steve Nelson, a venture capitalist and chairman of Durham, NC,-based Pinpoint Networks, says Jud Bowman “gains knowledge in the morning that becomes great business judgment in the afternoon.” Bowman exercises that judgment as Pinpoint’s founder and CEO. In 1999 Bowman deferred undergraduate admission to Stanford University to launch Pinpoint with a high-school friend. The company’s initial offering was a search engine that helped cell-phone users find wireless-data applications such as internet-messaging software. But Bowman quickly recognized that incompatibilities among handsets and service providers were stymieing wireless networking. So Pinpoint created Fuel- a software platform that acts as a mediator, feeding wireless applications from just about any network to just about any headset. Bowman believes Fuel could accelerate the wireless market; he raised $20 million in capital and has licensed Fuel to cellular giants Verizon Wireless and U.K.- based mm02. Fuel faces fierce competition from rival startups, telecommunications companies, and hand-set makers, but Bowman shows little strain, finding time to play viola in the Raleigh (NC) Symphony Orchestra. He never did find time for college.