Ben Pasternak

Ben Pasternak
Ben Pasternak.jpg
Ben Pasternak at Heureka Conference in Berlin, June 2016
Benjamin Pasternak

(1999-09-06) September 6, 1999 (age 20)
ResidenceNew York, New York, United States.
EducationReddam House, Moriah College
Years active2014–present
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
  • Founder, CEO of
  • Founder of Monkey
  • Mark Pasternak (father)
  • Anna Pasternak (mother)

Benjamin Pasternak (born September 6, 1999) is an Australian technology entrepreneur. He is the founder of Monkey, an American social media company that enables teenagers to video chat with like-minded people.[1] Monkey was acquired by Chinese social media company Holla for an undisclosed sum.[2] Ben is recognized as one of the youngest people to receive a round of venture capital in technology, at the age of 15.[3] Ben is currently the founder and CEO of NUGGS, a chicken nugget simulation company, which has raised US$7M in investment to date.[4]

Early life and Education

Pasternak was born in Sydney, to Anna Pasternak and Mark Pasternak. He has a younger brother, Jake, and a younger sister, Maya.[5] Pasternak grew up in Vaucluse, eastern Sydney.[6] He was educated at Moriah College and Reddam House.[7]

Pasternak designed his first publicly launched mobile app, Impossible Rush, while bored in science class at school.[8] He showed the idea to his online friend Austin Valleskey, an iOS engineer from Chicago. The pair completed building the game in a matter of hours. The game went on to be downloaded millions of times and peaked at No. 16 on the US App Store (iOS) top charts, in front of Tinder and Twitter at the time.[9] Pasternak released the game Impossible Dial as a follow up to his original game Impossible Rush. Impossible Dial was acquired for US$85,000 and peaked at No. 31 on the US App Store (iOS).[10]

In January 2015, Facebook and Google both offered Pasternak internship opportunities.[11] Months after declining both opportunities, Pasternak dropped out of high school, at the age of 15, and relocated to New York to accept an offer to receive venture capital funding for one of his projects.[12]



In April 2015, Pasternak founded Flogg, a social networking app for young people to buy and sell.[13] Pasternak's early success had caught the attention of venture capital firm Binary Capital. Binary agreed to lead a round of venture capital funding in Flogg before the app had launched. Binary were joined by other investors including Greylock Partners, John Maloney and Paul Bricault.[14] Flogg launched in April 2016 and was temporarily the No. 1 trending app on the US App Store (iOS).[15]


In November 2016, Ben co-founded , a video chat based app for teenagers to meet like-minded people.[16][17] The app has been used to make over 20 billion calls and has over 20 million users. The app peaked at No. 1 on the US App Store (iOS).[18][19] Monkey had raised US$2 million in funding. On December 1, 2017, Holla announced that it had acquired Monkey for an undisclosed sum.[20]


In early 2018, Ben founded a new startup called NUGGS. NUGGS manufactures a chicken nugget simulation made out of a texturized pea protein technology.[21] In July 2019, Forbes reported that NUGGS raised a US$7 million in funding round led by Canadian food company McCain Foods.[22]

Awards and recognition

Pasternak garnered media attention for being a young entrepreneur. He has been covered by major publications, including Forbes, Fortune, New York Post, The New Yorker, The Huffington Post and TechCrunch. Pasternak has also made numerous television appearances.

In 2016, Pasternak appeared in Time magazine as one of the world's most influential teenagers. He also appeared in 18 Under 18, an annual list of top young entrepreneurs who are changing the world by Fortune Magazine. In addition, Ben was given the Crain's Magazine 20 Under 20 award in 2016.


  1. ^ Bethea, Charles (9 January 2017). "Meet Monkey's Teen-Age Founders". ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Holla acquires Monkey to expand video chat for dating and friend discovery". VentureBeat. 6 February 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  3. ^ Dzikowski, Jennifer (14 April 2016). "Ben Pasternak: The Teen CEO Behind Flogg". Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  4. ^ Peters, Adele (9 July 2019). "The newest plant-based meat brand comes from a 19-year-old founder". Fast Company. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  5. ^ Bogle, Ariel. "What is it like to raise a 16-year-old startup CEO? In a word: stressful". Mashable. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Dad of tech whiz nabs waterfront". NewsComAu. 4 October 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  7. ^ Francis, Hannah (8 October 2014). "Is this 15-year-old Australian the next Mark Zuckerberg?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  8. ^ Mosbergen, Dominique (9 October 2014). "This Teen Invented An App That Overtook Tinder, Twitter On The App Charts". HuffPost. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  9. ^ Heber, Alex (9 October 2014). "These Two Teenagers Have Briefly Beaten Tinder And Vine In The App Store With An App They Coded While Bored At School". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  10. ^ Grubb, Ben (1 January 2018). "Aussie whiz-kid Ben Pasternak eyes next project after selling video chat app Monkey to rival". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  11. ^ Ryall, Jenni. "Teen whiz kid eyes Google, Facebook after creating addictive game".
  12. ^ "Why this high school dropout is actually the most enviable teen in NYC". 14 April 2016.
  13. ^ Nast, Condé. "This 16-Year-Old Dropped Out of High School to Run a Multi-Million Dollar Company". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  14. ^ "How a 16-year-old Ben Pasternak became CEO of his own start-up". Stuff. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  15. ^[non-primary source needed]
  16. ^ "Sydney high school dropout sitting on million-dollar empire". news. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Monkey, tutti in videochat: il nuovo social dei teenager". la Repubblica (in Italian). 22 January 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  18. ^ "High school dropout, 17, making millions from teen-focused apps". Daily Mail. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  19. ^ Bogle, Ariel. "Forget Facebook, forget Snapchat: Teens are doing it themselves". Mashable. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  20. ^ Grubb, Ben (18 December 2017). "'My parents haven't given me a single cent': great-nephew of Australia's second richest person out to prove himself". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  21. ^ "NUGGS: About | LinkedIn". Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  22. ^ "McCain Partners with 'Don't be Chicken' Nuggets Startup". Retrieved 14 July 2019.