Dunn, a private school for grades 6 through 12 in Los Olivos, has announced that a teacher-student duo won first prize in Santa Barbara’s Startup Weekend, in which entrepreneurs compete to launch a startup in 54 hours.
Dunn’s innovation teacher, Alex Kehaya, led the victorious team, which also included sophomore Abe Storey — the only high-school student in the entire competition.
Kehaya and Storey’s winning business, Next Mover, promises to match people who need help moving with folks who can do the work for a fee.
“I got the idea a few weeks ago after talking to a friend who had a horrible moving experience,” Kehaya said. “I thought, this is something I could solve.”
Kehaya and Storey attended the Santa Barbara competition as a real-world extension of the Earwig Inc. class that Kehaya teaches at Dunn. In that class, students learn the Lean Launchpad model designed by Silicon Valley luminary Steve Blank. A key tenet of that philosophy is to rapidly test the market to learn what products or services are viable.
As the youngest competitor at an event for adults, Abe learned a lot.
“I could list a hundred things I learned, but one of the biggest things that I’ll use my whole life is the realization that when you’re pressed on time, you’re forced to work better,” he said. “Also, I learned to be part of a team. It was awesome to use my skills with other teammates who had other skills, and together we got it done.”
As the top winner, Next Mover secured an unprecedented $55,000 investment from impressed audience members.
The college-prep middle school and high school offer a distinctive program of challenging academics and hands-on experiences in an intimate community. Dunn’s scenic 55-acre campus in the Santa Ynez Valley is just 30 minutes from Santa Barbara. Dunn offers day and boarding options for students. Click here for more information.
— Jessie Brumfiel is the director of college counseling at Dunn School.