Teenage is the perfect time to develop and nurture one’s skills and passions. It is a time when students can try out different activities to find what they are good at and what they enjoy. With social media and other interactive platforms, students today have many options on how to spend their time. It is therefore important that there are platforms out there that offer productive options to teens on how they can use their time effectively. Spotivity is a space that promotes a wide-array of after-school activities for teenagers. In conversation with Montana Butsch, Founder of Spotivity, we learn more about the platform and its different features.
What is the startup/product about? Give us a brief description of it.
Spotivity is a dynamic marketplace platform and personal utility app. Using our native app and SaaS web platform, spotivity A) maximizes afterschool time for the targeted 13-17 user and B) helps Providers increase both participant growth and retention metrics.
Spotivity provides for a wide array of after-school activities for teenagers to find in the following categories: remote, arts, sports, tech / STEM, volunteerism, wellness, jobs, mentoring / tutoring, camps, and internships. In accordance with the individual’s area of interest or via our internal recommendation tool, teens can choose from an array of different options and get point rewards for successful check-ins, referrals, and social sharing. Finding high quality after-school activities is seamless with our intuitive map system that pivots based upon the users preferred location. Additionally, spotivity supports its network of engaged teens thanks to the integration of its internal user forum.
How many co-founders are there? Please introduce them and their backgrounds.
I am a solo founder
How big is the entire team currently?
I oversee a tech development partnership that houses 400 in-house programmers. In addition to that, I manage an internal team of 30 in varying business roles; oversee our partnership with Utah State University, and engage a tight group of advisors.
How did you come up with the idea? What motivated you to do this?
The idea came about back in 2008 when Chicago was pushing for the 2016 Summer Olympics. I was a part of a small focus group to address programmatic access and that revolved around the idea of an online tool for teens. Ultimately, that idea didn’t go anywhere, Chicago didn’t get the Olympics, and I was busy working on my early stage nonprofit called Chicago Training Center. The idea was never thoughtfully realized and that always bothered me, so when I finished business school and concluded my tenure at the Chicago Training Center (2016) I started in earnest.
What is your target market? Why do you think your product will appeal to?
Our target market is three-fold. The main user is the teenager who is looking for afterschool engagement, thoughtful guidance, and opportunities – 40million and counting in America. Due to the realities that many of these teens have parents / guardians whose concern is oversight, support, and safety our second market is them (we have different app interfaces for these two use groups). We use basic math to presume that this number is approx. 60million Nation-wide. Finally there are over 50,000 independent program Providers, over 30,000 High Schools, and over 5,000 Sports based youth development organizations in America. They all deal with the same two business problems, Engagement and Recruitment – we solve that. They are our third target market.
What are the marketing plans apart from the product hunt/beta list launch? How are you planning to acquire new users?
We have ran a few digital marketing campaigns and that has illuminated the reality on the current CAC for individual users. Leveraging that information, I deploy certain amounts of capital to continually work that angle. But in addition to that, and potentially much more impactful, is my focusing on Provider conversion. This helps with both A) build our revenue streams while also B) create a back-filling of users for each Provider on-boarded. These two factors support a positive Viral Coefficient
Do you have a separate dedicated team to take care of marketing (digital marketing/traditional marketing)? Which digital platforms are you focusing more on?
Not at the moment – but we have historically run a relationship with Whitevox. Our current group of internal individuals are tackling this need at present as well as our focus on free social media utilization. Currently we have a heavy focus on Tik Tok and Instagram (though we cover all social outlets in varying degrees).
What according to you is the biggest challenge that you faced? Is it product development or marketing or scaling or … ?
Scaling. We struggle with the First adopter issue. We are a first to market solution and due to that we deal with issues with not being a derivative application in the marketspace – we are not an iterative solution with a wide array of likeminded applications so we are forced to educate all Providers we speak too. Luckily that conversation often is straight forward, but it does take time.
Who are your competitors/alternatives? What sets you apart from them?
The existing network of after-school activities is fragmented, often hard to identify, and with little public understanding of true value. At present, there are approx. over 40 companies that address location and/or management of programs for teens, but all are highly provincial, hard to navigate, have little / no app coordination, are not updated regularly, and have no commercial tie-ins. We are different.
What are the future plans with the product/startup? Any new features you are planning on?
We are rolling out soon A) a brand new website, B) completing the deployments of our first App SOW, and C) focusing on the integration of video support for all Providers so we further pandemic-proof the platform.
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