ChaCha CEO Jones launches app school in Carmel

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Entrepreneur Scott Jones is launching a new school in Carmel to teach teens and adults web and software-application development.

Some of the school's events will take place at Jones’ palatial estate at 1150 W. 116th St., in an effort to add a new dimension to traditional classrooms. The unique setting prompted the founders to name the school Eleven Fifty.

“I’m excited to help mentor students, especially when they have ‘The Next Big Thing’ clearly in mind,” Jones said in a prepared statement. “We will be helping some of our students get their ideas off the ground.”

Jones currently is CEO of Carmel-based ChaCha Search Inc., an online-and-mobile search service. In 1986, he co-founded the firm Boston Technology Inc., where he invented a version of voice mail now said to be in use by some 2 billion people worldwide.

In 1996, he co-founded Escient LLC, which sought to merge the Internet, digital data and devices to ease access to entertainment and information. That led to Gracenote, one of the first companies to develop music recognition software now at the heart of digital music products.

All the courses through Eleven Fifty have a project-centered approach for students to develop apps similar to Snapchat, Tinder, and Evernote, according to the school. Although no experience is required to apply for courses, prior course work is preferred at the time of class enrollment. The school accepts students aged 18 and older.

Eleven Fifty also offers a paid “APPrenticeship” program for students who have completed at least one course.

The motivation for the new school is to hire students in jobs that sub-contract app and web development work for tech companies around the world, co-founder Nick Birch said. “We think the APPrenticeship will eventually place these students at companies like ExactTarget, Interactive Intelligence and hc1.”

Eleven Fifty currently offers courses in Java MVC, Microsoft.Net, introduction and advanced iOS, and Apple’s recently announced Swift programming language, with JavaScript, Python, Ruby on Rails, and HTML5 to be offered soon.

The school offers two varieties of courses. Immersion courses are designed to attract students from all over the world and run from two to seven days. Eight-week classes for local students meet three evenings per week.

Jones' home on 116th Street boasts a dining hall, gym, basketball court, home theater, classroom, study rooms and a spiral slide.

“The intent to have [events] at his home is to mix it up and give students a chance to rub shoulders with successful start-up persons like Scott,” Birch said.

Classes will be held at satellite locations to be announced, including hotels in the vicinity.

Class sizes are targeted to accommodate 15-20 students but can range from 12-25, with no accreditation or housing offered. Birch said eventually the school would offer housing, but not at Jones' home.

All August classes are booked to capacity, but registration for September classes are open. A course in Swift costs $1,000, Android $3,500, Java MVC $3,500, and a beginner’s course in iOS $2,500.

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