Whiz kid – Dunn School student started creating apps in sixth grade

Abe Storey. Photo: Nik Blaskovich

Abe Storey, a senior at the Dunn School in Los Olivos, recently debuted his KeyFeed app on the Apple App Store this summer.

CENTRAL COAST | October 9-22, 2015

By Phillip Jones
Staff Writer

Abe Storey is 18 and already considers himself a serial entrepreneur.

The senior at the Dunn School in Los Olivos has been creating apps since he was a sixth-grader in San Francisco.

At the private boarding school, Storey takes classes in entrepreneurship, helps manage a student-run café and is constantly trying to create new inventions.

Storey developed his first app seven years ago with his eighth-grade cousin, Ry Storey-Fisher. The free app, which is still available from the Apple App Store, is a simple game in which users catch falling bricks.

“Sixth grade was really when my passion for the intersection of technology and marketing came about,” Storey said. “My cousin asked me ‘I wonder how apps are made?’ and I quietly (noted that) in my head.”

The duo’s second free app, KeyFeed, debuted on the App Store this summer. KeyFeed is a keyboard addition that lets users view, share and like photos on their phone’s keyboard while texting, emailing or surfing the web.

Storey-Fisher said their first business venture was actually a greeting card business the pair started when they were 10 and 12 years old, respectively.

“We designed and printed greeting cards and we bought special paper from Office Depot and went around the neighborhood selling those,” Storey-Fisher said.

Storey said he became interested in technology in fifth grade when his elementary school, San Francisco’s Town School for Boys, gave students laptop computers.
“To me, as a young student, that emphasized the importance of technology and where it will go,” he said.

Storey’s teachers and parents said even before then, Storey showed promise.

“In third and fourth grade he was kind of already learning rudimentary code with our tech teacher,” said Jij de Jesus, his third and fourth grade teacher at Town School for Boys. “I remember him being a really great communicator and a really great writer. That’s something that, for a lot of third and fourth grade boys, is hard.”

At just 18, Storey is mature beyond his years. He spent last summer interning for a T-shirt company in Los Angeles and was on the winning team at Startup Weekend Santa Barbara two years ago.
He said his focus has shifted from coding and app creation to the broader realm of entrepreneurialism.

Storey speaks with a vocabulary more eloquent and filled with technical language than most college seniors. As he describes what lies ahead and where he’s been, he’s oddly introspective and reflective.
He left home at age 14, he said, because none of the schools around San Francisco appealed to him.

“To be honest, as an eighth grader, it’s really hard to tell what you want,” Storey said.

So he journeyed south to the Central Coast and the Dunn School, where tuition can cost $52,400 per year including room and board. His father, Ted, is senior vice president of business development at Round Table Pizza. He said the Dunn School has an environment that supports his son’s entrepreneurial endeavors.

“The culture at Dunn has allowed him to be at school, yet work independently on the projects he’s been working on,” Ted Storey said. “That may have been difficult at home. He’s also had teachers that have been interested in the business, technological and entrepreneurial ideas that he has a passion for.”

As for his next venture, the 18-year-old’s newest project is designed to help his fellow students.

Jon Civitella, Dunn School director of educational technologies, said Storey shoots him ideas for apps all the time.

Civitella said the teen recently developed a beta version of an app that breaks long class readings into text message-sized snippets. The idea is to break up readings for students who have short attention spans into a form they can digest easier.

“His interest in creating these opportunities is not about creating money, it’s truly more about solving problems,” said his father.