Founder Stories: Meet The Young Makers And Educators Behind The Menlo App Academy

This is a very special edition of “Founder Stories.”

First, this installment features the youngest entrepreneurs to be on our show, Max Colbert & Matthew Dillabough, who founded The Menlo App Academy back in 2011 when they were only 12 years old. The Academy focuses on teaching students between grades 6-9 how to develop applications for Apple’s iOS. In about two years, the Academy has completed roughly 15 classes and taught close to 150 students.


Second, in this discussion, Colbert and Dillabough share more of the backstory of how they started The Academy, beginning with noticing their friends also wanted to learn how to code. With a busy schedule of school, sports, and other activities, the founders somehow find the time to grow enrollment, market both online and offline, and did their part to fulfill their mission of helping kids have the option to be exposed to computer literacy. Additionally, the duo talk about the subtle dynamics created when kids teach other kids (as opposed to adults teaching kids), and the importance of communicating with all of their team members as the number of teachers grows.

Most striking, to me, is the calm maturity both Colbert and Dillabough hold. Their intentions are pure, at a time in our country where our school children should (I believe) be exposed to literacy with machines and computer science to be better prepared for tomorrow’s world.

Editor’s Note: Michael Abbott is a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, previously Twitter’s VP of Engineering, and a founder himself. Mike also writes a blog called uncapitalized. You can follow him on Twitter @mabb0tt.