Leading Mobile App and Marketplace Platform Will Use the Funds to Expand Globally
CHICAGO—Spotivity is a Chicago-based tech startup that combines location-based technology, social media engagement, and a University-designed recommendation algorithm to create the industry’s first double-sided marketplace platform to help teens find meaningful afterschool engagement while also supporting program providers to lower liability, improve participant engagement, and drive recruitment. Spotivity has raised $1 million in a seed-funding round, led by CA Ventures, to grow user acquisition and support the recent global launch.
“The way in which Spotivity is addressing the fundamental issue of access and personal agency is novel and impactful. We are proud to support the Spotivity team and enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead”
“The way in which Spotivity is addressing the fundamental issue of access and personal agency is novel and impactful. We are proud to support the Spotivity team and enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead,” states a spokesperson from CA Ventures, the global real estate investment company and seed investor for Spotivity. “What Montana has developed over the past three years is hugely impressive and the knock-on ramifications this work will have for millions of individuals and hiring companies is undeniable. At CA, we strongly believe that the best and most profitable companies are those that aim to do good while also providing services customers are willing to pay for, and Spotivity is clearly aligned with that philosophy.”
Launched in 2018, Spotivity’s goal is simple: more teens in more programs more of the time. Spotivity supports teens that use the platform through its “Pocket Genie,” the research-informed machine learning recommendation tool created in partnership with Utah State University. Here users gain insight on after-school programs and college majors that align with their personality and other factors. In addition, Spotivity supports users’ ability to check-in to their activities on their phone, share personal progress with their peers, see their ranking between different use groups, achieve digital badges, build a verified personal after-school transcript, and benefit from a built-in point-based incentive structure that encourages digital parental engagement.
“More than half of the 40 million American children between the ages of 13-17 aren’t engaged in an after-school activity,” says Spotivity founder Montana Butsch. “For many of them, the time after school, on weekends and over vacations signals boredom and risk. This means they miss out on activities that may cultivate their talent, lift self-confidence, increase engagement with school, and decrease the likelihood of risky or self-destructive behavior. With Spotivity, we expect to change that ratio, so more teens find an accessible pathway to pursue meaningful activities and develop their passions,” he continues. “Additionally, the hardest thing to achieve with any program is a depth and breadth of the participant base. Spotivity provides a tremendous free participant marketing platform while also providing an affordable and easy to use back-end administration tool that lowers liability while helping providers provide better programming.”
Spotivity was informed by Butsch’s experience as the founder of the nationally recognized organization Chicago Training Center and his insights on access/agency were published in a joint op ed with Dr. Travis Dorsch. Key current clients include the Illinois Math and Science Academy, Chicago Scholars, and the Sports Philanthropy Network. Recent media coverage has centered on the recent #micdropchallenge hip-hop promotion.
Benefits for Teens
- Pocket Genie – Spotivity’s algorithm that helps identify program opportunities and college majors
- Personal Insight Tool – helps users learn more about themselves in efforts to make better decisions
- In-app video support – enables programs to embed video links for remote engagement
- 10,000+ searchable programs – across 10 different searchable categories
- In-app notifications, chat, and forum – connect with teammates and teens across the platform
- Spotivity Transcript– memorialize all afterschool activity in a verified file you can supply to colleges
- Embedded Team Store – purchase items from your respective programs directly inapp
Benefits for Parents of Teens
- Optional Parental Tethering – connect with your kids and receive confirmation of participation
- Safe Passage Notification (SPN) – be copied on all messages your kids receive from program staff
- Digital Engagement – use points to support/encourage your teen’s achievement
Benefits for Program Providers (Emerging Organizations, Stand-alone Providers, and High Schools)
- Lower Liability – SPN will not allow individual communication between staff and a participant
- Track Attendance – participants virtually check-in to all activities for easy self-auditing and reference
- User Engagement – easy inapp communication with participant and families via SMS, Push, and email
- Generate Revenue – self-curated Programmatic team store to sell goods or services
- Raise Program Awareness – Free marketing support throughout the Spotivity platform
Butsch adds, “The support from CA and other angel investors will allow us to fully extend our platform globally and bring support to those that need it, quickly. Furthermore, with the advent of the digital age fully realized our platform will provide unparalleled insight to users and will give teens actionable pathways to maximize their decision-making. Supporting program providers is of equal importance and, following on the guidance set the USOC’s SafeSport Initiative, Spotivity will lead the way to program compliance and just plain sensible programmatic engagement.”
Spotivity is an 1871 member and a portfolio company of the Founder Institute. Historical media attention can be found on its media page HERE and specific pieces of interest are: NBC Chicago, Tasty Trade, American Inno, Built In and iHeartMedia.