By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly
Christopher Lee is a Lakeside High sophomore. He has always had a weak stomach and has actually contracted campylobacteriosis, an infection from drinking bad water before.
He had been in many situations where he questioned the purity of drinking water, so he decided to do something about it for his own health. And he won first place in Social Venture Partner’s (SVP) Fast Pitch startup competition for his creation.
“I wish I had something portable that I could carry around, connect to my phone, and test the water purity. And that’s how the concept was formed,” he explained.
Lee created the IntelliH20 app during his spring break in April but didn’t revisit it until the summer when he applied and got into the Fast Pitch program. SVP Fast Pitch is a business pitch competition for innovative non-profit and for-profit social impact entrepreneurs – organizations that are solving today’s important social problems and making a positive impact in the Greater Puget Sound area.
He heard about the program through one of his classmates’ older brothers who had won previously.
As a big Apple fan, Lee’s five-minute presentation at Fast Pitch was inspired by old keynote speeches from Steve Jobs and Tim Cook.
This wasn’t Lee’s first win. He also entered the Youth Apps Challenge by the Technology Alliance and won.
“I’ve always been really interested in technology. My love for building stuff with Legos translated into my love for building apps,” he said.
When Lee isn’t working on his latest app, the 15-year-old plays the saxophone, likes to design websites, makes movies with the green screen and special effects, and is currently learning French.
Travel has been one of his passions since he was very young. He’s visited Africa several times for service work through Hamomi Children’s Centre, where he taught children in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. He taught the kids how to use computers and Microsoft programs like PowerPoint.
“My goal was to teach them digital literacy and to be able to put my product on the shelves. I’m hoping to raise enough money to help the underprivileged in Africa,” he said.
Lee’s father works in technology, but most of what the Lakeside High sophomore learned about tech was from watching videos on YouTube.
He said that he would spend some of his grant money on the patent for the app and hardware. In fact, several manufacturers have already contacted Lee to help finish the product.
Lee couldn’t have done it without his team, which includes designers for product and packaging as well as the keychain.
Lee also has another app in the Apple App Store called IntelliAmplifier. He developed it two years ago when he was in middle school. But he started building apps when he was 12.
People who are hard-of-hearing can use the app to amplify sounds around them. He said that the app is used in conjunction with any pair of earphones that do not have built-in microphones. The app costs 99 cents and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Hamomi Children’s Centre.
In the near future, Lee has plans to return to Nairobi and continue teaching the students and teachers more about technology, as well as introduce IntelliH20.
“I really love technology – technology is my first love. I really enjoy helping people who are less fortunate than I am, not for the resume or money, but so that I can help people who are less fortunate,” he said. (end)
For more information about IntelliH20, visit myintellih20.com.
Nina Huang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.