Getting kids to do chores is hard enough. But add in that parents have less time to spend around the house, and that makes for a messy house and undisciplined kids. ChorePay is looking to help parents get back on track by offering a platform that assists in organizing the whole chore process, from assigning tasks to rewarding kids upon completion.
The system lets you input tasks, add monetary or non-monetary rewards, and check completion once a child submits it’s been done. There’s also the option for a child to donate their earnings to charity, instead of adding it to their running account. Not only does ChorePay’s method instil charitable giving at an early age, but it also lowers the barriers to giving.
Founded a little over a year ago, the ChorePay team is growing rapidly with 11 people now on board. We caught up with founder and COO Jeremy Jacola, a graduate of Western Washington University, for this edition of Startup Spotlight:
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We offer a free website that manages household chores. Made to be easy for parents. Made to be fun for kids.”
Inspiration hit us when: “Early last Spring, driving though nearby neighborhoods on my way home from work, I noted one particular lawn that was pretty shabby, and it struck me: I hadn’t seen a single kid out mowing a lawn. Which got me thinking, when had I last seen a neighbor kid out mowing a lawn? Or pulling some weeds? Or washing the car? It was odd. Something that was such a basic part of my childhood, household and yard work chores seemed to just not be happening anymore. It occurred to me that parents are busier than ever and quality time with kids is at a premium. With as busy as the average family is, the time of the “chorewheel” is probably over. I joked to myself “There outta be an app for that!” I went straight home and ‘white-boarded’ ChorePay. I stayed up late in the night putting together our provisional patent.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap. We have raised 60 percent of our initial funding goal and are working to close the remaining balance by two major partnerships and a few private investors. Also, speaking conceptually, we feel that the bootstrap ethos is important for kids to have an understanding and appreciation for. There are many out there who unfortunately, aren’t lucky enough to have a strong, supportive family environment. For kids to have an understanding for those who have had to figuratively pull themselves up by the bootstraps instills a deeper value of family, work, and financial responsibility. And with our educational tools teaching the power of charity, kids learn the profound impact of helping somebody to reach their bootstraps.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Education and ease of use. ChorePay provides tools to help educate our youth on earning, spending, saving, and the art of philanthropy. We also provide a simple and convenient tool that allows parents to track and fund their children towards positive results. We are also launching Heroes for Hire which will be a part of our online community and for parents to find extra help. Babysitters, someone to mow the yard; reliable work for those who need it all inside a safe COPPA compliant network so parents and kids can rest easy.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Hiring a local dedicated in-house developer to replace an offshore vendor.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Outsourcing our initial site development with an offshore company. We experienced many delays and missed deadlines due to layers of management, miscommunication, time difference (turnaround was excruciating), and work that was over promised and under delivered. Had we secured a dedicated in-house developer, we wouldn’t have sacrificed a five month delay in a product that wasn’t 100% ready for launch.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “We have nothing but enormous respect for Steve Jobs. He was a great visionary and icon of our time. His impact not just on the world of technology, but an emerging global cultural experience is profound. Obviously having him in your corner would be a no-lose situation. That being said, ChorePay is a team. We don’t have a single individual visionary doing all the conceptual heavy lifting of creation and invention with brilliance bordering upon omniscience. What we are is a team of very, very smart people. The Bill Gates legacy of hiring talent, understanding talent, and empowering that talent to produce speaks to the same level of passion we have to not just achieve success in our arena, but to make a positive global impact.”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “Children start asking their parents to do chores proactively around the house.”
Rivals should fear us because: “We’ve created our own Marketplace that’s sourced directly from manufacturers, distributors, and our partners. This eliminates layers of cost and time for our end user. Our 3rd phase, Mall, (which is soon to launch) will be more interactive and we have strong partnerships with national anchor stores. This will help greatly enhances the unique community that we are building.”
We are truly unique because: “We knew going in that we wanted to build a community, not just another website providing insular accounts to families but we also knew it would be the harder road. An online community is a living, breathing entity and we’ve put in exhaustive hours planning and anticipating its growth and evolution. That’s what sets us apart.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Playing catch-up from the delays caused by offshore sourcing of site development. Also, finding an extremely talented and brilliant Ruby on Rails professional locally was an unexpected challenge.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Great ideas aren’t uncommon, but most don’t see the light of day. To ensure your light bulb burns brightly for years, strategy and tactical execution is essential. Choose to be lucky by working hard.”
Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Seattle area startup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out the questions above, send photos of the founder(s) and company logo to firstname.lastname@example.org. Past profiles can be found here.