One new tech company formed, three mobile applications built and on the market, two more apps in development -- not your typical teen summer vacation.
After graduating from Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale in June, Jared Browarnik, Ed Walker and Zachary Koerbel decided to forgo pool time and summer jobs to dive right into entrepreneurship.
With an idea for their first app already percolating, the three quickly formed Movora Software Development, a company specializing in mobile apps on a variety of platforms. Often working past midnight, the team finished iPick Stocks within a week. The app provides a stock market game for the iPhone that challenges users to predict the movement of the market and see how their predictions stack up against other users.
Their company’s second app, also developed in about a week, is called Dow Board. The team says it is the quickest and easiest iPad app to visually track the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. “The idea was originally to write the app for my own personal use,” says Koerbel, “but after we realized the applicability behind it, there was no question that we should share it with others in the industry.”
Although there have been challenges working with Apple’s stringent requirements, “how well we work together as a team has been a big part of our success,” says Browarnik. “We think like-mindedly; we don’t argue. We work efficiently and quickly.”
Browarnik, an award-winning wildlife photographer, serves as the lead iPhone developer. He developed his first app, 3D Photo Maker, two years ago. Now with nearly 250,000 downloads, 3D Photo Maker is one of the App Store’s most popular applications in its space, Browarnik says. Koerbel, an avid golfer, serves as lead web developer and secondary iPhone developer. Koerbel, along with Browarnik, recently placed 1st at both a statewide computer science competition hosted at Stetson University and the statewide TEAMS science competition. Walker, a competitive rower, serves as head graphic designer. He’s also an Android developer, and the team is exploring developing apps for the Android platform as well.
“When they are working, the outside world doesn’t exist,” says Michael Browarnik, Jared’s father. “Pine Crest has a nice way of instilling a wonderful work ethic in their students.”
So far, the apps have sold in “the hundreds” but the team hasn’t yet begun marketing them in a big way to students -- that’s next, Jared Browarnik says. The apps generally sell for $1.99, though some have free versions.
Movora -- derived from Latin words for “move” and “frontier” -- is interested in incorporating its stock market game into Pine Crest’s curriculum, as well as other schools, to help students more enjoyably learn about the market. Browarnik sees other educational applications in the future, too – for instance an older game his chemistry teacher used in classes could be modernized for today’s iPhone-toting students, he says.
“We want to take our products and knowledge and give back to the schools and help kids learn about finance management and IT in unique ways,” says Browarnik. “With a looming digital learning gap in underserved areas, technology can become the great provider, not the great divider.”
The three teens also developed a third app this summer called iKey Cars, which allows a user to virtually key a car and trick his friend (or enemy) into thinking that his or her car has really been keyed. “We just wanted to do something light-hearted after the other two apps,” Browarnik says. It’s
not so funny when you’re on the receiving end of the prank, his father laughs.
Movora has two other apps in development. One of them will enable a slide show to transition with the beat of the music. Another involves photography and nightlife, but because of a confidentiality agreement Movora can’t say more.
Now as the three young entrepreneurs head off to colleges in the Northeast, they will be bringing their company along, too.
Browarnik will attend Columbia University as an Egleston Scholar in the Fall, and will study computer science. Koerbel and Walker will attend Princeton University and are deciding between majors in either operations research and financial engineering or computer science.
Although they have put in long hours together this summer, the friends don’t see a problem keeping the company going while they are in college.
“There are so many ways to communicate nowadays,” says Browarnik, “And it’s only an hour train ride.”
(Photo above shows Movora team members, from left, Ed Walker, Zachary Koerbel and Jared Browarnik.)
Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg