It’s like a scene ripped straight from a Hollywood movie (or a particularly emotional episode of Dragon’s Den) – a tech millionaire who made his fortune designing apps credits a near death experience with putting him on the path to becoming super rich.
Chad Mureta’s creations include Emoji (you may have heard of that one) and a phone security app, Fingerprint Scanner Pro. Together his creations have been downloaded over fifty million times.
His company, App Empire, pulls in between $3 million and $5 million (£1.9m to £3.3m) in revenue every year. So, he’s doing pretty well, all in all.
However, Mureta is quite happy to admit that he isn’t “a tech person” and believes he wouldn’t have even come up with his money making idea were it not for an extended stay in hospital following a major car accident.
In 2009, Mureta swerved to avoid a deer and his car smashed into a barrier and flipped four times. His left arm was torn to shreds and was so badly injured that, for a time, doctors feared they would have to amputate it. In the end, he kept his arm but it’s now made of titanium all the way from his elbow.
During his six months in hospital and six months of rehab, Mureta came up with the genesis of the idea which would make him millions.
His smartphone had remarkably survived the car crash and, as he watched doctors idly flick through the phone, Mureta began to consider how useful it would be to have some way of increasing security on your mobile.
Later, a visiting friend brought him a magazine article about apps and app development, which gave Mureta the confidence to go ahead with his plan.
Speaking to the BBC, he said:
I just had this ‘A-ha’ moment, where I said, ‘holy cow, I’m going to do this’. I was sitting there, on all these IV drips, morphine, and I looked around and I finally saw the picture. I entertained a different destiny. I’ll never forget that emotion – I can’t describe it in words. It was this transparent moment: here’s your answer, and you’re foolish if you look at anything else.
Mr Mureta had no experience in coding and the resources for developing apps weren’t as readily available at the time. However, he took the plunge, borrowed $1,800 from his stepfather and worked with a contact in India to get his first app off the ground.
Two months later, Fingerprint Security Pro was in the app store.
In the years since the accident, Mureta, now 34, has built and sold three app companies and developed over fifty apps.
App Empire, his current company, makes its money from teaching others how to develop and release their own apps.
All this despite the fact he still can’t actually develop an app himself!
What an incredible story of a truly self-made millionaire. If this doesn’t inspire you to chase your dreams, nothing will!