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East Chapel Hill junior creates app to help students score jobs

Max is a young entrepreneur who has launched an app called Jobalo by his junior year in high school. He is also an intern at Team Wealth Investments.
Max is a young entrepreneur who has launched an app called Jobalo by his junior year in high school. He is also an intern at Team Wealth Investments.

Max recently produced a job listings app called Jobalo Jobs, which launched in November 2016. The app is geared toward helping high school and college students find jobs. It’s run by a development team hired by Alway-Townsend that includes an overseas coder who handles programming.

The idea behind Jobalo came from Alway-Townsend’s struggle to find a job at age 15. He had looked for work in his neighborhood to earn money. He wished there was a website so he could check local listings instead of putting himself out there.

The app features one-day “contract jobs,” which are more accessible to students and have quick rewards. The app is currently in its second round of fundraising with a goal of $40,000. The proceeds will support operating costs for the summer and part of the fall.

“This is actually my third startup,” Alway-Townsend said. “The first one was in eighth grade and the second one was in 10th grade. They were both pretty small-scale, but they taught me just so much stuff about entrepreneurship, about being a leader and e-commerce.”

He said he always wanted to be his own boss, even from a young age.

“Before I was 16, really, I couldn’t get a job anywhere. So, I kind of decided I want money, and there’s really only one way to get it — just go out and make something of my own.”

Max began his entrepreneurial endeavors in eighth grade with his first startup — buying and reselling new and gently used brand name sneakers, such as Jordans.

His second venture was a dental subscription service that he started with a partner in the tenth grade. Customers would pay to have their toothpaste, toothbrush and other dental supplies come in a mailed package every three to five months depending on their preferences.

Alway-Townsend’s father Doug Townsend has been involved in business for years as a chief financial officer and a chief operating officer and was also involved in a few startups himself. While Townsend is not directly involved in Jobalo, his son occasionally comes to him for advice, which allows him to see his son’s progress.

“When he started looking for funding, he had no problem calling the heads of different angel investing and private equity investing firms.” Townsend said. “I’m very impressed with how Max is not limited by his being a 17-year-old junior in high school.”

Alway-Townsend also works as an intern for investment management company TEAM Wealth Investments under co-founder Larry McManus. He is the youngest intern they’ve had yet.

“I can’t believe he’s only a junior in high school. He’s got an entrepreneurial drive.” McManus said.

“I just think the fact that he’s just constantly thinking about how he can improve — I was literally blown away when we first started talking about Jobalo. He had already hired a developer overseas, he already had a marketing plan put together. You just don’t see people at 16, 17 thinking of those things.”


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