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Saturn co-founder, Dylan Diamond isn’t just appearing on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list but he’s also attracting a lot of career comparison with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The comparison of Diamond with Mark Zuckerberg is no surprise due to the similarities between Saturn and Facebook. Both Apps were invented within the four walls of their schools, Staples and Harvard respectively for the purpose of connecting students. But unlike Facebook which was socially inspired, Saturn is aimed at helping the students of Staples High School take control of their schedules, homework, and activities. The app exploded in popularity, and years later, is still used daily by almost all the school’s students.
Staples is the alma mater to numerous impressive and accomplished individuals. From its impressive presentation and musical programs, academically rigorous classes and intense sports platoons, Staples has fostered a warp for success in numerous of its graduates. Adding to Staples ’long list of praiseworthy graduates is Dylan Diamond’, whose work as a computer scientist recently landed him on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the “ Youthful” species. Diamond graduated from Staples in 2017 and enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied engineering and business.
At just 22 years old, Diamond has double majored at the University of Pennsylvania, been the youngest employee and intern at Tesla and developed several apps, specifically in the realm of school accessibility and navigation. Saturn, the school navigation app that Staples utilizes, has consumed Diamond’s career and is the particular accomplishment honored by Forbes.
As Wharton sophomores at the University of Pennsylvania, Dylan met fellow entrepreneur and Saturn co-founder Max Baron. The two quickly saw an opportunity to help millions of students facing similar challenges.
Over coffee on Penn’s campus, Diamond showed Baron Saturn—which he’d subsequently turned in a mobile app—and Baron was floored. “It was very obvious to me that the slope of whatever we could build together was much higher than whatever I could find in either a classroom or commercial setting.” In November 2018, they officially launched Saturn, and by school-year’s end, supported more than 50 schools across the Northeast.
With Baron as COO and CSO and Diamond as CEO, in 2019 the two closed a $9 million seed round from TQ Ventures, General Catalyst and Ashton Kutcher, propelling their pre-revenue company to a $40 million valuation. After Diamond won a Thiel Fellowship in 2020, the two dropped out of college to build Saturn into what they say will be the next Facebook.
While Staples was definitely influential in Diamond’s path to success, he primarily attributes his personal passions to his achievements. Tinkering with computers on his own time were the main reasons for his growth as a computer scientist. He programmed his first website in fourth grade and developed several apps throughout the rest of his grade school career, without the backing of a teacher or classroom to learn from.
“I always did a bunch of projects and things on my own, ” Dylan said. “When I was in fourth grade I started a web design company and scaled that up throughout middle school and was just doing a bunch of sites for friends and family (and) learning web development, all self- taught.”
Diamond’s first experience with app development came in his freshman year at Staples with the creation of MyHAC, an app that allowed people to check their grades and GPA from their phone. “It was used by everyone at Staples, I think maybe some middle schoolers, parents used it. It was pretty prolific within the district, ” Diamond said. “ I scaled that up to thousands of high schools across the country with over half a million people on that app. It was number one in the paid education app store for a while. ”
Diamond continued to work on school navigation apps throughout the rest of his high school career, transforming MyHAC into StaplesGotClass, which ultimately transformed into iStaples, the app that Staples students used up until this year with a switch to Saturn.
During his over-the-hill year, Diamond landed an internship with Tesla after developing an app which let Tesla owners control their vehicle from their phone. The app went viral on a Tesla forum and the company reached out to Diamond to offer him an internship which thereafter progressed into a job, making him the youngest employee at the company.
“I started working Tesla during my senior year of high school. I moved to California and was working at Tesla and ended up working there for the next few years, ” Diamond said. “That was an amazing experience. That taught me a lot more than any computer science course than high school or college.”
Making the Forbes 30 Under 30 List is certainly one of Diamond’s proudest accomplishments of his career, but he gives a lot of credit for this feat to his supportive team.
“I’m honored to be on the list, but it’s really a byproduct of building a product that you’re really passionate about, ”Diamond said. “It’s a team effort from Saturn, not just the individual. So I’m super thankful for the team.”
“Diamond is a prodigy in many ways,” says Alexa von Tobel, founder and managing partner of Inspired Capital. “When you see data like Saturn’s, it honestly reminds me of my days as a Harvard undergrad—Mark Zuckerberg was a classmate—and I remember what the early adoption of Facebook felt like, when the user base is not only demanding, but thirsty for the product.”
Though the co-founders have attracted a slate of blue-chip investors, the company has no monetization model—or plan to move beyond high school users—at present. “There are a lot of things in play, but to be honest, [monetization] is not our immediate priority at the moment,” says Baron, who is more focused on retention and engagement. Investors are banking on Saturn becoming the next great social network, and in such a reality, monetization is light-years away. For context, Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2004, but did not attempt to generate revenue until 2012.
In order to ensure the smooth and successful functioning of Saturn, the company appoints several ambassadors in each school to update the team on scheduling changes or technical glitches within the app.
Diamond hopes to continue his computer science career and expand Saturn globally. Being such a young entrepreneur, Diamond has a long career path ahead of him which he’s excited to explore.
“We’re going to bring Saturn to every high school and college in the country and world and it’s going to make people closer to their community, make it easier to make friends in high school and make it easier to be more productive and know what to do and where to go,” Diamond said.