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February 2016 People: Rising Star/Chris Kelsey

Rising Star: Chris Kelsey

Chris Kelsey isn’t like most 18 year olds.

Instead of applying to colleges, he’s currently CEO of his own company, Appsitude, based in Santa Rosa. As you might have guessed, it’s a company that builds apps for smartphones, and the demand for the work is proving to be red hot.  

Acknowledging his unconventional beginnings, Kelsey says, “At the end of 2014, I was a senior in high school. I dropped out in December to become a full-time entrepreneur.” Success quickly followed. “I received my first contract for more than $15,000 within one week of starting, and had more than $100,000 worth of contracts by March 2015.

“We've been steadily growing and have a team of 14 people now.”

If you’re wondering just where Kelsey got the experience to attempt (let alone succeed) in such a venture, he says, “I've had two previously failed businesses and learned a lot from them.”

Appsitude develops custom apps for clients big and small. They can be “a startup, an individual with a big idea, or an existing company that wants to have ease of use,” he says. “We also help people who have limited budgets and need an app prototype to test an idea. We figure out the most cost-effective ways to help them.”

So far, the company has worked on about 15 different projects, including some existing apps as well as others created from scratch. One of its most successful to-date is called InstaVid, created by one of Kelsey’s developers, which has received more than 2 million downloads.

The app he’s most proud of is called Architect Owner Builder, which is currently still in development for the St. Helena-based architecture firm Backen Gilliam Kroeger. It lets users show the progress of their customized homes being built. It includes many additional features as well, such as instant messaging.

Looking to the future, Kelsey says, “For now, I want to keep developing apps, software and websites for our clients, but I also want to create successful products from our own ideas as well.” Whatever he chooses next, the future certainly looks bright.

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