The Ornitech company of Warwick, New York, got off to a rocky start. In 1999, founders Sean Frawley and Dan Getz went to the bank to open up a business account. At first, they were greeted with giggles. So they explained their business plan to a bank officer who offered this objection: "You´re only 15."
"Well, we decided to just go forward," says Frawley. From its headquarters in the Frawley family basement, Ornitech has since shipped hundreds of ornithopter kits. An ornithopter is a contraption that flies by flapping its wings. Ornitech´s versions are brightly colored toys you assemble yourself and power with rubber bands. The company won´t crack the Fortune 500, but it is a terrific example of what two precocious teenagers can do with a good idea, hard work, and a presence on the Internet, where nobody knows you´re a kid.