Teen entrepreneur Spencer Costanzo is the founder of app company Malibu Apps. Since June of 2011, he and his team have developed more than 30 reference-based iPhone and iPad apps, several of which have made it into the top 200 in their category. Costanzo first saw the opportunity to make money with niche apps in 2011. His first app was about guides to popular video games, which he noticed was a topic that was doing well. As Malibu Apps quickly grew, he made the decision to skip college and focus on his business full-time. Since then, the Princeton, New Jersey resident has also created an online course that teaches others how to make it in the app business.
“I didn’t decide to be an entrepreneur, I just am,” says Costanzo, whose grandfather and father were both successful entrepreneurs. Being a third generation entrepreneur doesn’t mean Costanzo didn’t have his fair share of failures, though. According to him, he had many of them in the beginning. Because there were very few resources about how to start an app company, Costanzo had to figure everything out through trial and error. Still, he recommends failing as fast as possible in order to determine and eliminate what doesn’t work in one’s business.
Prior to founding Malibu Apps, Costanzo sold physical books on Amazon when he was in 10th grade. He says he made enough from that venture to fund Malibu Apps in the beginning. After Malibu Apps became profitable, he reinvested all his profits back in the company.
Costanzo believes that taking large risks may be the most important part of building a successful business. For him, that risk is not attending college, but doing so and then getting a normal job after graduating doesn’t interest the young entrepreneur at all. Instead, he enjoys the freedom of being able to create his own schedule and working on what he loves.