POST FALLS — Alex Knoll's Ability App is capturing global attention.
Alex, 10, presented his invention to more than 40,000 people at the 2015 Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, in early November. Reporters couldn't help but smile as they interviewed "the youngest CEO in town."
"That's what all the newscasters said on their newscasts," Alex said Wednesday. "It was pretty cool."
The North Idaho STEM Charter Academy fifth-grader created the Ability App earlier this year as part of the Invent Idaho and I Cubed student invention challenges. Alex was named the 2015 I Cubed National Grand Champion for the Ability App, which he invented to aid people with disabilities when they visit restaurants, hotels, bookstores and other public locations.
Irish Tech News was especially moved by Alex's invention and named the Ability App one of the favorite startups from Web Summit, a huge technology conference.
"The Ability App was the startup that impressed me the most as it was developed by Alexander Knoll, a 10-year-old from America," wrote Irish Tech News contributor Ronan Leonard, who went on to say Alex "has a bright future ahead" and he looks forward to seeing what the young inventor does next.
"I think that was pretty cool," Alex said. "I didn’t really expect that."
Alex spoke to several prominent people about Ability App while at Web Summit, including Ford Motor Co. executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. and former New York Giants running back and co-chairman of Thuzio talent procurement company Tiki Barber. He also met Brogan BamBrogan, the CTO and cofounder of the futuristic transportation company Hyperloop, and BamBrogan's partner, Hyperloop CEO Rob Lloyd.
"These guys are amazing, they’re friends with (Tesla Motors CEO) Elon Musk," Alex said. "I asked Rob Lloyd to tell Elon Musk that he’s my hero."
Alex has already designed a prototype for the Ability App, but still has a way to go when it comes to funding.
"Everybody was really excited about our app, but we were kind of disappointed that we didn’t get any funding," Alex said, explaining that he is now exploring his options for corporate investors in his quest to develop the app and help people.
"He's been busy working on his pitch," said Alex's mom, Anne. "It just takes some time."
Alex and Anne did reveal exciting news that Alex has an upcoming phone conference scheduled with a technology institution that may be able to help further his work.
"I think that would be a really good opportunity," he said. "I’m excited."
Alex has finally been relaxing during winter break after his big Web Summit and Ireland adventure, but he has also started work on his next Invent Idaho entry, which will again follow Alex's heart and passion for helping others. His new invention will be revealed at the regional event in January.
To donate, help or learn more about Alex and the Ability App, visit www.abilityapp.org.
During an interview with a reporter from Irish TV at Web Summit in Dublin in November, Alex Knoll, 10, explains how the Ability App works. The young inventor's app was named one of 2015's favorite startups by Irish Tech News.