With summer fast approaching, many of Chicago’s teenagers will soon be out of school and looking for activities to keep them occupied. To help them fill their free time with useful and purposeful activities, a Chicago entrepreneur has built a platform that helps teens and their parents easily search for extra curricular activities that keep kids off the couch.
Spotivity, launched in 2018, is a platform where teenagers, ages 13-17, and their parents can search and find extra curricular programs for teens to participate in year-round, whether it’s during summer vacation or just after school.
The platform lists nearly 3,000 local programs, activities, jobs and internships, helping to address the millions of American children between the ages of 13 and 17 that aren’t participating in an after-school activity, according to Spotivity Founder and CEO Montana Butsch.
For certain activities, Spotivity offers a combination of free and paid options. The service currently only operates in Chicago, but Butsch said he plans to expand it to the city’s suburbs, and other cities, such as Detroit, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
Programs are categorized based on type of activity. Categories range from sports and arts to men
toring and tutoring. Butsch said the platform is designed for all teenagers looking for extra curriculars and is not targeted at any specific demographic.
“Every possible teenager, rich or poor, they all have a need,” Butsch said. “It’s not my job to identify what need is best for them, but it is my job to present all possible solutions to them in a format that they can easily search.”
To incentivize teens to use the platform, Spotivity developed a point-based system in collaboration with Utah State University in which users receive points for participating in activities offered on the app. To compare and compete with other users, Spotivity has a leaderboard where teens can track their progress.
As a double-sided marketplace, program coordinators are generally willing to list their activities on Spotivity because it helps them recruit and fill spots, said Butsch, who has a background in after-school activities as he founded the Chicago Training Center in 2006.
To monetize the startup, Spotivity will offer a monthly paid membership in the future that will give users access to premium programs and activities. Additionally, once the app’s user base grows significantly, Butsch said he plans to partner with corporate sponsors, who could help support the business. He also envisions the point system expanding, allowing for points to be redeemable for discounts on items sold from some of its corporate partners.
“Ultimately, [users] can transition those points into points of purchase discounts, so now their [shoes] don’t cost $200, they cost $100 by being actively engaged in the after-school space,” Butsch said.
Spotivity, based out of Chicago tech incubator 1871, hasn’t raised any venture capital as of yet, but Butsch said it is something he wants to do as he grows the startup.
“There’s too many idle hands around the summer and we hope to fill those gaps with kids finding meaningful summer jobs and camps—just stuff to keep them involved,” Butsch said.