Future Founders’ Lab: An Interview with Alex Quinn

Jacob O’Connor

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Alex Quinn, the Founder and CEO of St. Louis-based AI company Disruptel. Quinn founded Disruptel in 2017 as a senior in high school. Since then, Quinn and his team have raised more than $2.5 million to develop a better TV viewing experience through artificial intelligence.

At the time, what led you to forgo college and pursue your startup?

When asking Quinn what led him to choose this unconventional route to some, he said, “ It wasn’t one big decision - it was a series of smaller decisions that led me down this path. I was pursuing projects and one thing led to another and I thought it was best to skip college and go all in on what eventually became Disruptel.”

Did you focus on artificial intelligence from the start?

Quinn says that he didn’t originally start off in the artificial intelligence industry. Instead, he pivoted spaces three times before landing where he is now. Quinn first began in the solar technology industry, then moved to the computer science space, then to gesture recognition, before finally ending up in the artificial intelligence industry.

What has been the biggest challenge starting a company out of high school?

Starting a company and working in an emerging space while still in high school didn’t come without its challenges and wasn’t a small task, says Quinn. When asked about what keeps him motivated, Quinn said, “I want to build a successful company. That is the only objective and the only focus I have. There have been times where I’ve questioned if I should’ve started the company in the first place, but we’re too far in at this point - we have to make it work.”

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