Person of Interest: Nathan Simpson

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Occupation: Rising Junior at Appomattox High School and this year’s top winner at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) competition.
Resides: Appomattox, Va.

Tell us about the business you entered into the YEA! competition.
True Dimension Education is the Netflix for high school course selection. Within a school district, we will collect student data and predict which courses a particular student will be successful in. Our software does this by utilizing a machine-learning algorithm similar to what Netflix uses to predict movies.

Were you surprised they granted you the most money, $1,500?
I was definitely surprised! I had no idea that they saw so much value in my company. I’m very grateful for the investor panel and more specifically, Stefanie Prokity, a very established education technology entrepreneur.

Where did you get the idea and inspiration to create True Dimension?
When I began the YEA! Program, I knew I wanted to help K-12 education. Each year, about 1.3 million students drop out of high school in the United States. That’s one student every 20 seconds.

How did you become involved in computer programming/software creation?
I began building websites when I was in seventh grade. My computer marketing teacher introduced me to HTML. Since then,
I have developed about 40 freelance projects for my clients. Software has been a fairly new addition to my interests. I wish I would have started learning about software much earlier!

Did you always have a knack for technology?
Not necessarily technology, but I have always been curious. Curious in how things work, interact and help society.

What’s next for True Dimension?
True Dimension is currently seeking our seed funding round. We have raised around $15,000 from grants and investors. We will need some additional funds to fully build the software. We are also filing for a provisional patent to protect our software. Since the company was founded in November, our team has grown to include five co-founders. The team consists of four high school students and one long-time region 2000 educator, Jason Clark.

As you look ahead to your future, what are your goals and aspirations?
I hope to become a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist. K-12 education is my passion, and I hope to significantly lower the dropout rates within the public school system.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I absolutely love Latino pop music. I frequently listen to Don Omar’s Danza Kuduro when working on True Dimension. We are part of a co-working office environment, which I named ‘KuduroX,’ combining my favorite song and favorite start-up accelerator, GoogleX.

What are some of your favorite things to do with your friends and family?
Nick Mendoza, a True Dimension co-founder, and I frequently go into the city and capture some pretty unique shots. Photography is our side business, and we love the unique combination of Lynchburg, which allows both cityscape and nature photography.

Name the top spot you like to visit in the area.
I love downtown Lynchburg. Most of the meetings involving True Dimension’s software development take place in a historic Lynchburg building, currently the home of Sharp Top software.

So it sounds like you would one day like to start up your business in Lynchburg?
Of course! True Dimension plans to move into the city once we deploy the software.

What does the phrase “Lynchburg Living” mean to you?
Lynchburg Living is the spirit of the Lynchburg community. It has been a pleasure to work with the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance and many of the other businesses within the area.

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