An idea for a startup app has roots in cleaning up what dogs leave behind.
Mitchell Thiem, 29, a 2012 Guerin Catholic High School graduate and former Carmel resident, had started a new job at a solar company in Pennsylvania in May 2022. At his first in-person company meeting, he presented an “about me” slide show. He opened it like this:
“When I was 10 years old, I started a business called Poop Patrol: ‘Make Every Step a Good One!’” Thiem explained that it became profitable and evolved into other Carmel neighborhood businesses, including lemonade stands, mailbox painting, babysitting and more.
Thiem, who now lives in Jupiter, Fla., but returns to the area frequently, said he had hoped to create a business that helps young people become successful entrepreneurs. Thus, Minor Chores – designed to connect young entrepreneurs with those seeking their services – was born. He purchased the domain name, started the LLC, pitched it to a close circle of acquaintances and family, and quit his solar energy job to focus on his new idea. He is the founder and CEO.
This is Thiem’s first try at creating a startup app business. His previous experience has been in numerous roles in the renewable energy industry — and, of course, as a young business owner in Carmel, where his parents, Gene and Becky Thiem, still reside.
“The way I think of it, I’m simply creating an app based on how my parents raised me,” Thiem said.
Minor Chores, slated to launch as a pilot program in mid-May, is subscription-based, with the annual fee ($75 to $125) based on age. Those looking for services (“chore customers”) post jobs, and entrepreneurs bid on them. The app also offers business resources, social media outreach templates and links to educational YouTube videos.
What is designed to set the app apart is parental control. Parents can create sub-accounts for their kids and access the app. Parents have full access to their child’s account and can filter on or off several features, including allowing access to internal messaging. Also, chore customers and mentors, who must be 18 or older, are required to upload a photo and provide background details when creating a profile.
“The safety of our young entrepreneurs is of utmost importance,” Thiem said.
Work on Minor Chores has moved quickly. Thiem pitched the idea to family friend Valerie Osinski, whose knowledge and connections in the tech world have been invaluable, he said. Osinski introduced Thiem to partners Mike Kelly and Michael Cloran of Indianapolis-based DeveloperTown, who connected him with Boundless App Developers in Indianapolis. Boundless got involved in October, according to co-founder Jason Ward, and he and two software developers have been working full-time on the app.
Ward described Thiem as “a very bright guy, definitely driven, very personable.”
“He’s been a real pleasure to work with,” Ward said.
According to Ward, startup apps have a success rate of about 20 to 25 percent.
“I think (Thiem) is going to be one of (the successes),” Ward said.
Thiem will consider the app a success if it helps young people become confident entrepreneurs with an understanding of business basics, community building and financial literacy. Pre-registration for the app is available at minorchores.com/pre-register.
“My goal is to replicate what my parents taught me and put it in a trusted, sophisticated educational app for millions of parents and kids to do the same throughout the world,” Thiem said.