Hoosier whiz kid could be the next big thing

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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. -- In the world of cyberspace, it’s all about the next big thing, the next innovation that could change the world. If you discover it, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, you’re going to end up with your own company or more.

Just ask Zack Baker. He may have just graduated from Noblesville High School, but he’s still a seasoned internet entrepreneur. Baker invented PassWhiz, an app that took the outdated hall pass system into the digital age. The app distributes, verifies and records hall passes through an iPad, eliminating the old fashioned and outdated paper pass system.

"There's a bunch of flaws in the system, right, because there's nothing saved. They waste paper. They waste a lot of time on both students' and teachers' part," said Baker.

Baker sold his app for up to $1,500 a year to Noblesville High School and other Indiana high schools. He’s branched out to other schools across the country and now 13,000 students are using PassWhiz.

"It's like learning to play the guitar or learning to skateboard. You can learn how to code," said Baker.

Baker’s story may be remarkable, but his life as a Noblesville teenager arguably is not. He lives in Noblesville with his parents and he’s now enrolled at the University of California-Berkley. He says if there’s a secret to his success, it lies with the teachers and mentors from the business world who guided him through the world of computer coding and entrepreneurship.

"I was brand new to entrepreneurship. I am still pretty new to it. I don't know really what I'm doing. So I called these people and said ‘this is happening, what should I do?’ And having someone to ask those questions to is so important."

Baker already has an accomplished career. He was named Rookie of the Year at Techpoint’s Mira Awards, which honor Indiana’s tech industry. But the unlikely entrepreneur has a long way to go before he’s finished, and who knows, maybe he’ll be the one who discovers the next big thing.

"As long as it’s fun for me, I'm going to keep doing it."

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