George Hofstetter is on 17-year-old that Silicon Valley needs to pay attention to and take note. This Alameda Community Learning Center senior isn't waiting for tech giants to come to him, he's making his own way in the industry with his own company-George Hofstetter Technologies, Inc.
Hofstetter, who was recently honored at a gala held by the Equal Justice Society sat down with Black Enterprise to talk via email about his new app, to how he's helping middle school students and more. Below is an excerpt from his interview. To read the piece in its entirety, click here.
Black Enterprise: When did you get involved in technology?
Hofstetter: I found out I was interested in technology when I was 13. One of my best friends, Desmond, invited me to a hackathon powered by Qeyno Labs, an Oakland-based tech company. At that hackathon we created an app to help private school students of color support one another through their experiences of racism. At the time I was attending a private school and experienced institutionalized racism. We found a way to help other students. After that first hackathon, I wanted to really change the world’s perspective on race through technology. That year I taught myself four programming languages. That really opened my eyes to what it means to be an innovator and not just a consumer of technology. At 16 I started my own tech company, George Hofstetter Technologies Inc.
Black Enterprise: You also do public speaking. You spoke at Capital One headquarters?
Hofstetter: I was invited to speak at Capital One’s NextTech2016 conference. It was great speaking in front of banking professionals and developers. They hold so much power for how the black, Latino, and other minority communities experience essential things like banking and financial literacy. We all need more financial knowledge. My grandfather George McDaniel is a retired investment banker and bank president so I do know that world a little bit, but we can always learn more.
Black Enterprise: I understand you’ve developed a controversial app.
Hofstetter: My latest app is called CopStop, the 21st century key to staying safe from police brutality. I submitted the app to the app store and it was sent back for errors in the code. Although I can and will fix it, right now I am overwhelmed with college applications and running my company.
Black Enterprise: What are you planning to pursue professionally?
Hofsetter: I plan to pursue a career in computer science and psychology. I think artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity are the most fascinating subjects in computer science, so I’m extremely excited to learn more. I am now applying to college and really want to go to UCLA, so UCLA if you are reading this, I’m right here!