Anil and Sunil Varanasi could have done whatever they wanted. The brothers, born in India, moved to Virginia when they were 12 and 14, respectively, then sped through high school and graduated at 16 and 17. For fun they hacked into their Xbox to make it do their bidding, and built and sold custom PCs. Once in college at George Mason University, the Varanasis thrived in classes ranging from biochemistry to economics to computer engineering. They seemed set for a bright future in a buzzy field such as cryptocurrency or smartphone-enabled food delivery.
Instead, the teenagers chose to focus on improving office internet and Wi-Fi networks. While still in college, they started a company to install networking equipment for businesses, and had 50 employees and 100 customers by the time they graduated. That experience convinced them that what really had to be done was a redesign of the entire idea of networking equipment and the software that runs it. “We think internet service should be exactly like electricity and telephones,” says Anil, the chief executive officer of Meter Inc., the company that resulted from their insight.