By Riley Kaminer
Despite being just 18 years old, Kye Gomez has already had more business experience than many early-stage entrepreneurs.
Gomez’s first hustle was selling coconuts on the streets in his hometown of Hialeah in third grade. By 5th grade, he had started flipping goods he bought off Amazon.
“I was extremely troubled in school,” he told Refresh Miami. That led him to lean into out of school pursuits, such as entrepreneurship, as well as things he could teach himself. One of those activities was coding: something Gomez started to do at the ripe age of 10 years old.
“When I first came across coding, I thought it was the best thing ever,” he said.
Gomez initially applied his newly-acquired programming knowledge in a way that you might expect from a 10-year-old boy: gaming. He was fascinated by the idea of modifying video games to create phantasmagorical scenarios, like hacking the physics of how characters interact with their surroundings, or implementing a gun that breaks the game.
“It was all about seeing what would happen,” he explained. “And seeing how one thing would react to another.”
Gaming also led Gomez to eventually learn about artificial intelligence. At age 13, he says he created his first AI model to hack his mom’s Gmail account to get a PlayStation code to make a purchase in the platform’s store.
From that point on, Gomez became obsessed with the power of AI and data science to, as Gomez put it, “automate every boring activity.”
Two years ago, Gomez built a marketing consultancy that ingested its clients data and used AI to unlock insights to help them grow. Managing that growing business clashed with his efforts to complete his high school studies. But it would eventually lead him to his latest business venture, APAC AI.
Through APAC AI, Gomez has built an AI-powered, Slack-based assistant called Athena. The idea is that Athena can help users with any monotonous, rote task they deal with on a daily basis. For instance, Athena can enable a CEO to quickly identify key information in their company’s balance sheet. Equally, a marketer can ask Athena for details around the key metrics they are tracking in each campaign. Meanwhile, a journalist can leverage Athena to write parts of their articles by feeding it a series of prompts about the topic.
Once Athena gets to know the needs of its users, it can also begin to proactively provide recommendations. “Athena can unleash a person’s true potential,” asserted Gomez.
Currently, Athena is in a private beta with four users. Gomez eagerly awaits approval from Slack to distribute this app more widely through their platform. But already he says there are thousands of users on Athena’s waiting list, thanks to his extensive LinkedIn marketing campaigns and some mentions in a few popular newsletters.
Gomez is in the process of raising a funding primarily to expand the user base. “I ultimately think that Athena will completely revolutionize everything humans think technology is,” he said. “Phones are passive, but Athena is alive and dynamic – proactively ready to help you with anything you need.”
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