He added, “It was my escape and I see it’s still true today for such geeky kids. They may not have friends with similar interests with them in schools and can’t possibly discuss such areas of interests with peers.”
Today, the Malaysian entrepreneur is also the CEO and Founder of 1337 Ventures, a company that runs both a namesake accelerator and a co-working space for app developers. He first started technology training centre iTrain in June 2005, and then went on to found 1337 Ventures in February 2013. Both companies are running simultaneously.
Aside from teaching adults everything from game development to project management, iTrain also helps children to fall in love with technology. This was first started in 2005 when iTrain was just a newly launched company. The programmes it touted were targeted at 16-year-old school leavers who might be considering the exciting world of Computer Science. However, these courses didn’t go very far back then; iTrain for children was paused only to be reintroduced under the name of ‘iTrainKids’ in 2011.
“… we wanted to create an environment (where) these kids can just be themselves and geek out all day with kids of similar interests and at the same time, pick up additional or polish their existing tech skills,” he said.
Additionally, exposure to such programmes can help spark a child’s interest in the technology space.
Now, iTrainKids is being run during school holidays, but Lakhmichand and his team are hoping to make it available all year round. “… just like how you would send your kids for ballet classes, you can now send your kids for coding classes,” he added.
At the moment, programmes conducted by iTrainKids cater to all age groups from eight to 17. The curriculums have been devised by Lakhmichand, local entrepreneurs and people from the general startup community.
“The biggest seller is the app development programmes,” he said. Children get to learn how to create a mobile app on an Android phone with tools like App Inventor. Other courses include game development, web development, 3D printing, art of photography, and video editing.
Going forward, the company is looking at working with a number of partners to scale the business and bring iTrainKids outside the capital city Kuala Lumpur and beyond home country Malaysia. Like they say, the children are our future.