Montana Butsch is the founder and CEO of the spotivity. Spotivity is a dynamic SaaS marketplace and platform tool that aims to change the way teens live, work, and play. The audacious goal is to help all young people transition successfully to professional life by their mid-twenties.
Via the SaaS platform and native app, spotivity A) maximizes afterschool time for the targeted 13-17 user and B) helps Providers increase both participant growth and retention rates. Thanks to the Pocket Genie (its’ proprietary algorithm), spotivity helps identify impactful programming, removes key logistical barriers, promotes positive networking, and, just recently, helps teens find University majors that are alignment with their personality. Recently, spotivity has launched globally to all English speaking countries and has enlisted Hip Hop stars to help promote via the #micdropchallenge
Montana has been featured on Built In Chicago, American Inno, and NBC news. In addition to spotivity, Montana runs the annual Tech/No Evil event to shed light on the good that technology can do as well as oversees Thin Edge Consulting, a boutique consultancy firm.
Spotivity is a portfolio company of Founder Institute and is a member company of Chicago’s 1871 tech incubator.
Montana holds an MBA from IEBrown, rowed and studied at Oxford University, and has twins Bella and Theo (9yrs old) – for whom none of the above matters so long as he continues to play Barbie and Fortnite.
What is your title and what does this involve?
Founder and CEO. I am the everyman. I focus on the hustle of operating a startup and am in charge of gathering the resources, creating the relationships, and maintaining the motivation to make the process work. I oversee a large group of interns and create the partnerships that will ensure long term success.
Where do you work in the app industry and what does the company do?
Spotivity connects youth to out-of-school-time (OST) activities that promote positive development and create actionable pathways to college and careers. Spotivity is a mobile and web application that is supported by a SaaS solution that creates and maintains a double-sided marketplace for both teens and program providers The app is free for users (teens and parents/guardians) and is a freemium SaaS platform for providers (independent programs and/or schools). The platform currently lists more than 10,000 OST programs in arts, sports, tech/STEM, tutoring, employment, and voluntarism. Vie our educational partnership with Utah State University we have built a machine-learning algorithm to link users to opportunities that play to strengths or addresses weaknesses.
What are the big trends you see in the app market right now?
We see and learn from the many aggregation tools that combine the usability of different applications (slack etc…) as well as take stock in social media trends for teens (Tik Tok, YUBO, Triller).
What is the best thing about working in apps and mobile?
Personally, and as a non-technical founder, I find working on an app tremendously engaging because I am constantly pulled in many different directions. I run a tech partnership with an offshore firm, I manage a group of 30 individuals on a highly involved internship program, I oversee multiple University / Secondary School relationships, and I am tasked with forming relationships with musical artists for our promotions. In short – running a team and taking on the responsibility of being the leader is what I find most enjoyable. The fact that it occurs within the mobile world just means that the number of variables I need to manage are larger than most.
What is the one thing you’d like to change about the Apps business?
One code base would be sweet – a reality that is also never going to happen. Ha.
If you didn’t work in apps, what would be your dream job?
Hard to say. I have no plan B! I did try out for the Olympics in rowing (many pounds and years ago!) so I have a clear affinity for sport and would like to get re-involved there. Additionally, I have a background in Education so something there would interest me. Finally, the other industry that really interest me is music – I’m an old Hip Hop head and a former radio DJ – so playing in that space would be great. You can see why we created the challenge www.spotivity.com/micdropchallenge . But, right now, – I’m 100% tunnel visioned on spotivity.
What mobile device do you use?
I use a Samsung Note 8. I’m due for an update.
What are your favorite apps and games?
I find myself using Facebook a lot for my curated news feeds, WhatsApp and Slack for mass communications, and my wife thinks I’m addicted to the silly game Bricks Ball Crusher (I probably am – I’m on level 1,042 at present. Ha).
What do you think about the current situation with people’s privacy on mobile? What are your thoughts about Apple’s upcoming IDFA policy change and Facebook’s reaction?
I think it is complicated. People like and demand free services – but often do not understand what comes with that request. I do believe that regulation is extremely important and needs to be thoughtfully accomplished, but we also, as consumers, need to be aware of the bargains we are making with convenience, free services, and access. Responsibility falls on both sides and so long as consumers are made fully aware of decisions that impact them then I’m happy letting those same consumers make decisions that impact them.