Sai Hasini Gnanavel

Sai Hasini Gnanavel is only 11 but she developed an app that allows people to rent or share household items.

Sai Hasini Gnanavel of Gilbert was searching for a big idea. The 11-year-old a sixth grader at Basha Accelerated Middle School wanted to enter the Silicon Valley Challenge, which rewards young programers.

But she needed an idea. She noticed something about her dad.

“My dad buys unnecessary things that he only uses once, and never uses again,” Sai said. “So, I wondered what he’ll do afterwards.”

That’s when the light bulb went off.

She developed her own app called Rent & Share, which allows people to either rent or share their household items with their neighbors.

“It basically solves the problem of clutter,” she said.

So despite her age, Sai has an app on the Google’s Marketplace. Rent & Share is not currently available on Apple’s App Store, but Sai said she hopes to make it available there in the future.

Sai said she learned how to code at her school when she was in the fifth grade. She said it’s really hard to create your own app. 

“Near the end I wanted to add more features to it, but I wasn’t able to because I didn’t have the coding knowledge,” she said.

In the Silicon Valley Challenge students across the country submit their projects. Sai submitted hers in January after working on the prototype for three weeks. 

“Once the prototype was completed, they reviewed the prototype, and they accepted a few of them,” her father Gnanavel said. “They sent a mentor to work with Sai.”

She said those sessions taught her a great deal about programming. Still, it may not be what she will do in the future. She likes to solve problems, something programmers have to do all the time. But there’s another profession that also appeals to her: Being a detective.

“I would read books a lot, and so I ended up reading a lot of mystery books,” Sai said. “I really like how they solve mysteries, and I was thinking I want to solve my own mysteries.”

She said she’s received a lot of encouragement from her friends and family. 

“Developing an app helped her really see … when she’s actually building an app she had a lot of learning to do,” her father said.

The app allows users 18 and older to post photos of their possessions and chat with other users about their possessions. Any financial dealings are done outside of the app between users, so Gnanavel won’t be making a lot of money from the app.

Both of her parents have software and tech experience, so they were able to offer some guidance. Sai says she’s proud of her app.

“It’s helping people not buy new things and waste their money,” she said. “All the other ideas were bad, so this is just the good one that I had.”