A 16-year-old Kehillah student is the founder of 3 companies

Yanir Nulman participates in activities that one would expect for a 16-year-old: He plays guitar, piano and tennis, loves physics and computer science, and is extremely involved with BBYO.

What sets Nulman apart is that he has already founded three companies.

“I really like to think of things in different ways that spur ideas for myself — and I pursue them,” said Nulman, who probably has the most impressive LinkedIn page of any of his classmates at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto.

The page gives details on the three companies he has formed: PeX Technologies in June 2012, Lychee Labs in April 2014 and Snap in August 2014.

Yanir Nulman

The latter company was developed this summer while Nulman, a high school junior, was spending nearly a month in Haifa at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. He said he learned a lot — especially about market research, presenting and intellectual properties — during Technion’s Science and Start-Up Summer Initiative.

The venture he and a team of other students came up with is Snap, and it’s still rolling along. The company is developing a product for smartphones that allows the user to enhance features on the phone without having to buy a new phone.

The Technion program allowed Nulman to get together in different groups and brainstorm ideas, and from those ideas he and his Snap business partner, Jon Lerner, who lives in New York, created business plans and presented them to different companies and potential investors in Israel. One of those, Nulman said, was Jerusalem Venture Capital Partners.

“It was great to get feedback from the investors,” Nulman said, “and the time pressure gave me a thrill.”

Nulman and Lerner are continuing to move forward with the company; they’ve filed a patent, have developed a 3-D computer-aided model and hope to begin fundraising soon.

Nulman’s “career” began in 2012, when, as a 14-year-old, he started the company PeX, which is short for Power Extender. He created an apparatus for cars (specifically hybrid and electric) that continuously harvests electricity through otherwise lost energy. This, he says, can help increase the longevity of the battery life and increase the distance a car can go without charging.

The product is still in the research and development stage, Nulman said. On one test it collected 2.5 kilowatts per hour during a highway drive, but Nulman said he’s already bettered that.

“I’m still optimizing it,” he said. “I’ve been looking into the theoretical physics part to see how much potential energy is available, and there’s still a lot more. It’s a huge number, but as I’m optimizing it now I can increase that number even more.”

The main apparatus for PeX is patent pending.

His other company, Lychee Labs, launched just 10 months ago, focuses on smartphone software, enhancing the phones and adding features to them to make the user experience better. Swysh, an app in the beta testing state, allows users to control music playback on their phone a lot easier than they can now.

“It should debut within the next two months,” Nulman said.

Despite his busy course load at Kehillah, the Palo Alto teen has been able to find a balance between school and work.

“I’ve learned a lot about time management over the past two years,” he said. “I’ve essentially been doing homework and then working on all these companies when I can. It’s a tough balance, but it ends up working out, and I do a lot of working on the weekends.”

Nulman, a California native, has had plenty of guidance along the way — from his father, Jaim Nulman, who co-founded Yali Pharmaceutical, based in Hadera, Israel, and is currently working on a solar startup. A graduate of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, according to his LinkedIn page, he has more than 35 years of experience in the high-tech industry.

“My dad has helped me with how everything works,” Nulman said. “He has had a lot of experience starting companies. He’s my adviser.”

Another adviser is his mother, Avelyn Welczer, co-founder and chief medical officer at Yali Pharmaceutical. Welczer is also an active leader in the Jewish community, with current or past affiliations with Kehillah, the Israel Student Organization at Stanford, the Oshman Family JCC, Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School and others.

“She’s also starting her own catering business,” Nulman said. “And she’s my mom.”

Another thing that has helped Nulman develop into an entrepreneur has been his involvement in the Simon Wiesenthal AZA chapter of BBYO.

“It’s played a huge role in my public speaking and working in groups, which I’m doing more and more now,” he said.

Technion’s Science and Start-Up Initiative proved to be a big help, too.

“I chose it because of its location in Israel and the resources of the Technion, combined with the opportunity to work with people from other parts of the U.S. and all over the world,” he said.

Science and Start-Up participants visited high-tech companies, designed a product and prototype and developed marketing strategies plus a business plan. That’s when he, Lerner and their team launched Snap. Nulman was elected CEO of the team and oversaw all aspects of the company, including filing a worldwide patent application.

For the next level of his education, Nulman said his top choice for college is Stanford because, “I want to stay in the tech capital of the world.”

Despite his success, Nulman remains humble and remembers that he is still a teen. Nevertheless, it’s hard to ignore what he’s done, and what he continues to do.

“I don’t often like to compare myself to others, but I guess I tend to do things that a normal 16-year-old wouldn’t do.”