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Can Your Photo ‘Best’ That Of Another? 

Tommy Oliveri and Brandon Bonomo, both 15, are the brains behind the Best It iPhone application, set to launch in September. Spencer Stein, the CFO of the company, is not pictured.

High School juniors preparing to launch smartphone app next month

Planted on a beach in Puerto Rico last February, Brandon Bonomo envisioned a future that would promise many more vacations just like that one. Now, the 15-year-old Half Hollow Hills High School East student might have figured out how to do it.

Outside the confines of the classroom, Bonomo and his best friend, Tommy Oliveri, 15, came up with an idea they hope will pay off. They have developed a photo-sharing application for Apple products called “Best It.”

“It all happened really quickly. It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing,” Bonomo said.

The smart-phone savvy pair said the idea came about after researching similar products on the market.

Extremely high in popularity, especially among teens and young adults in the millennial generation, photo-sharing applications allow users to “like” images or mark them as favorites.

Oliveri and Bonomo decided to turn up the heat with their idea of what the perfect photo-sharing software should be, by adding a little competition and incentive-driven usage to the mix.

“We looked at other similar apps, and we saw there were so many ways to be different,” Oliveri said.

“It’s such a general, vague idea,” Bonomo said of similar applications. “Ours is so different and… people like to take on competition; it’s human nature.”

Essentially, the free application allows users to follow different categories of interest, such as “nature,” “cars,” or “sports,” and a competition for the best photo is generated within each topic. The photo which receives the most “best” designations, or is most popular to users, is featured on the application for a short period of time, allowing everyone who visits the board to see the “best” picture.

The application also allows friends to create their own topic network, only allowing photo-sharing between approved members, such as a sports team or a group of friends, the young entrepreneurs said.

After trying to land a domestic software developer, the pair first pitched the idea to some tech-savvy students at their high school, but failed to sell anyone on the idea for the long term. They then turned to local industry developers, whose asking price exceeded their means by twofold, to the tune of $50,000.

After hitting a wall with American companies, Bonomo, Oliveri and classmate Spencer Stein, 15, who the pair described as a “smart, ideas man,” looked into potential overseas developers who could help materialize their invention.

The trio secured a contract with Ukraine-based NI Tekna, a technology development company that agreed to develop the Best It software for just under $20,000.

With the help of their parents, several investors and after pooling their own resources, the three high school juniors formed a limited liability company and entered into a contract with the Ukranian developer.

Since February, Bonomo said he has been in touch with Darko, the Best It software developer in the Ukraine, collaborating and brainstorming ideas for the anticipated mid-September launch of the application.

“The idea could have easily gone downhill, but we persisted… It’s not a bad feeling, it gives you a sense of accomplishment,” Bonomo said. “We learned you don’t have to wait, and it’s cool that we did it as kids.”

“A lot of people underestimate what kids can do,” Oliveri added.

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