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Westport Teen Releases New App, Redefines 'Trouble'

Skylar Thomas of Troublemaker Technologies.
Skylar Thomas of Troublemaker Technologies. Photo Credit: Submitted

WESTPORT, Conn. -- You'd expect the CEO of a Westport technology company to travel across the U.S. chasing business ventures.

What you might not expect is that that executive is 17-years-old, and been designing apps since he was 13.

Skylar Thomas, a rising senior at Staples High School and the founder of Troublemaker Technologies, has six apps under his belt, the latest of which is a 3-D extravaganza created in partnership with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Paintball Hero, which took him approximately 14 months to create -- he has schoolwork after all -- is a video game that puts the player in the position of an animal activist.

Users rescue cows, chickens, and the occasional unicorn while destroying enemies with education paint in a stunning, 3D world.

The game, said Thomas, which recently won the Vanguard innovation award from Greenwich-based iCreate, is meant to start a conversation because, as his website says, "a problem cannot be solved if no one is talking about it." The majority of proceeds from the game go towards combatting animal abuse in the real world.

His relationship with PETA began when he was 13 and working on another animal activism app. He was looking for a job -- he works a lot as a freelance contractor -- and struck up a dialog with a PETA exec. That long-term relationship eventually helped land him this latest project, available on iOS and Android as of June 1.

What distinguishes this app from past projects -- aside from the 3D component which was a different beast in itself, he said -- was the level of detail and intricacy that was incorporated. This focus on minute details extended to both the design and the programming -- two passions of his.

Troublemaker, which the Westport teen founded in 2014, specializes in a range of services: websites, logos, gaming apps, design, and branding. The company, according to Thomas, is all about "reinventing the standards and disrupting the status quo with a distinct combination of creativity and attention to detail."

That out of the box thinking is something he's honed over the years -- and takes pride in. A self-taught self-starter, he's already lined up a host of summer jobs, including another project for PETA, but is always happy to be hired for more. He is, after all, a CEO who knows how to juggle.

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