How does the grand-nephew of Australia's second richest person prove himself?
By creating a tech start-up of course. Multiple, in fact.
Nineteen-year-old Tamir Triguboff — whose great-uncle is 84-year-old Meriton property developer Harry Triguboff, listed by the Australian Financial Review as having a net worth of $11.43 billion, making him the second richest Australian behind Anthony Pratt — has already sold one of his companies.
[Correction: A previous version of this story wrongly stated Tamir was grandson of Harry Triguboff. Fairfax Media regrets the error.]
This all without the help of his privileged family, he rushes to point out.
"The bad thing is," Tamir says of peoples' perceptions of his upbringing, "people think I can just fund my own projects, that I can do it all myself. But the reality is, my parents haven't given me a single cent. Every time I start a new project, my dad tells me that I'm not getting a cent from him."
Tamir is behind smartphone game Impossible Dial, which he started with his mate Ben Pasternak at age 16 after he was sent by his parents to Victoria's Geelong Grammar boarding school following his attendance at Sydney's eastern suburbs school, Moriah College.
Impossible Dial was sold for $85,000, a figure Fairfax Media can reveal for the first time. Tamir is now using his portion of the funds (50 per cent) to fund his new venture Contra, "a social platform that enables young people to voice their opinions on social issues and affairs", according to Tamir.
"I built Contra because I felt our generation needed a greater voice and influence," says Tamir, who is currently studying property economics at University of Technology Sydney.
"There is a lot of politically correct pressure in our society that shuts down debate on controversial topics," he says. "We saw on Facebook that so many people were writing opinions on news articles but it was very cluttered. We wanted to make a specific platform where people could debate on controversial topics such as sports, cars, food and politics."
So far Contra has gained 11,000 downloads with no marketing, according to Tamir.
Meanwhile each topic is averaging 65 votes, with the highest topic garnering 15,000 votes, says Tamir, who surprisingly for someone so young has a public relations agency representing him.
He says this is because he's "quite a nervous guy" and that he had been held back by his parents from speaking to journalists about his business ventures until now.
"My mum and dad are still very iffy about the whole PR thing," he says. "It's the first time I'm doing any media, so I needed someone to hold my hand."
Contra's business model? Market research.
"We'll sell the data," Tamir says.
"Let's say Coca Cola come to us and want to know which is better: Coke Zero or Diet Coke? We will be able to ask our users and tell them what young people say."
Contra was originally launched in a beta in April this year to test scalability, however was quickly recognised by Apple and featured in Best New Apps, Top 20 Networking Apps, and Top 20 Under 20 (apps developed by people under 20 years old).
Apple then invited Tamir to the United States to attend its high profile developer conference, WWDC, and he and his co-founders have been working on the new version since, which went live last month and is more refined.
His partners in Contra, introduced to him by his mate Ben, include Rohan Kapur, from Singapore, and Lenny Khazan, from New York, both aged 18.
While Tamir and his co-founders were not initially seeking capital for Contra, it is expected that they will commence meetings in San Francisco with potential partners and VCs this month, where Tamir says he hopes to finally meet his co-founders in person.
"I'm very excited to meet them," he says.
With no background in how to create apps himself, Tamir says he's now focussing on learning how to code so that he doesn't have to outsource development to people he has hired overseas. To do this, he has a tutor visiting him to teach him.
"I want to rebuild Contra from the ground up," he says.
Asked why he didn't go down the property route as his family have, he says that while he did work for his great-uncle's company Meriton for a short period of time, he felt that tech was the way to go for him.
"When I went to boarding school, I didn't really like it," he says. "That's where I found my passion in technology. It was a very good distraction."
The secret to his past apps' successes? Using influential social media accounts to promote them.
"There is this guy in St. Louis called Carlos," Tamir says.
Tamir says he asked Carlos to promote his gaming apps on these accounts and then paid him a flat fee once the money came rolling in.
"Games are very good and you can make good money with them but it is not a concrete business," he says, explaining why he's now focusing on Contra.
"I want to make Contra into a dream lifetime business," he says.