Kids On The Move - Dean Dijour & Gabe Argush
Anyone who owns a dog knows the anxiety that can overwhelm you if it gets loose and runs away, but Dean Dijour, 17 (at left in photo), and Gabriel Argush, 18, from Marlboro are hoping to help pet owners avoid the stress and sadness of such a loss.
Gabe and Dean are recent graduates from Marlboro High School’s Business Administration Learning Center magnet program. They are developing a practical yet innovative invention called CollaRadar, which allows a user to set up an invisible “GeoFence” barrier around their residence and deters their pet from crossing it by emitting a high-frequency noise from a device attached to its collar when it approaches the custom boundary. If the pet crosses the threshold, the CollaRadar will stop them from running away via deterrents like high frequency speakers and vibration warnings, as well as notify the owner and transmit the pet’s real-time location to their phone through the use of GPS and SMS technology.
The product, which landed the two teenagers a spot on the TBS show America’s Greatest Makers, where they took second place in the contest, has yet to be finalized. However, Dean says they hope to have a crowdfunding campaign set up for it in the next few months.
“We’re perfecting it and we have more to do to lock down the software end of it,” Dean says. And although the product has been more than one year in the making, they understand there’s a lot at stake with promising a customer their dog won’t become lost again.
“We have to be maximally efficient and fully functional,” Dean says. “If we lose someone’s dog, that’s a huge emotional loss for our customer, as well as a massive device credibility issue.”
Dean credits Gabe with the initial idea of coming up with the invention, which he says was sparked when Gabe’s dog, Archie, ran away. The two then pooled together some of their friends and contacts from other local schools, like High Technology High School in Lincroft and the Computer Science Academy in Freehold High School, and assembled a team of 10 to develop the system.
“Ideas are one in 1,000, but execution is one in a million,” Dean says. “We’re fortunate we had friends and contacts at some of the top schools in our area that possess skills people don’t often have at our age.”
The development of a novel product can be a challenging endeavor for most adult entrepreneurs, and when you consider that all of the creators involved in the CollaRadar device are no higher than freshman level in college, an outsider might be impressed with the ingenuity and effort such a young team is putting into the project. But Dean and Gabe, both sons of immigrant parents, consider it to be an example of the work ethic that their parents instilled in them.
“If we just sat back and didn’t take risks and were satisfied with being mediocre, everything our parents worked for would be for nothing,” says Dean, whose parents emigrated from the old USSR. “The whole point of moving to a better, free country is to have more opportunities. If we don’t take advantage of those opportunities, then our parents might as well have never even immigrated to this great country.”
Gabe will be attending the University of Virginia this fall, while Dean will be attending the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Although he says he has a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, Dean, who spent his summer interning at SeventySix Capital, a venture capital firm in Philadelphia, says he would like to further pursue the venture capital field in the years to come.
“I enjoy being an entrepreneur, making an impact in one specificfield, but on the same thread I enjoy working with a number of ventures and positively affecting them. As a venture capitalist, I could influence a variety of companies and entrepreneurs,” he says. “I’d like to give a few more ventures a go, but eventually I’d like to break out into the venture capital space.”
For updates about the development of CollaRadar, including when Gabe and Dean anticipate it being ready for production and sales, visit: www.facebook.com/collarator or www.collarator.com.
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