Junior Tyler Mitic founded his own company, TeenView, in 2020. According to its website, TeenView served as a global community of teens committed to helping companies make better brand, marketing and product decisions by incorporating teen perspectives. Mitic first came up with the idea in 2019 and started the company with six of his friends; however, the project recently shut down in October 2022.
Mitic’s inspiration for TeenView came from his parents’ struggle to get customers to purchase and download their app. According to Mitic, his parents had a difficult time connecting with their teen audience; he recalled a time when they even waited in college lunch lines, offering to pay students to download their app. After learning about his parents’ previous challenges with teen outreach, Mitic decided he wanted to help other companies better appeal to teenagers.
Senior Charlotte Yao helped Mitic in creating TeenView. “[During] freshman year, Tyler brought [the idea] to our friend group,” she said. “We were surprised that he thought companies would actually want our feedback.”
After gaining their support, Mitic and his friends began by talking with brands in the Bay Area who were interested in gaining teen insights. “We worked with companies that were out of touch with teens but had built their entire business around teens,” Mitic said. Mitic and his friends began working with nonprofits, doing pro bono work to see if their idea could take flight. After receiving some traction, they expanded the company further, and TeenView was born.
The summer before Mitic’s sophomore year, TeenView started working with Life360. One of TeenView’s first paying clients, Life360 is a company that offers advanced driving, digital and location safety features, as well as location sharing for families. Mitic was able to partner up with them through connections he had. Although Life360 is meant to improve family safety, the company has faced lots of backlash from teens whose parents used the app to closely track and control their location and driving speeds, according to Wired. In the summer of 2019, there was even a trend of teens giving Life360 one star reviews on the app store, in hopes that it would eventually get taken down.
Mitic and the TeenView team worked with Life360 to develop features that would appeal more to teens, rather than parents, such as Ghost Mode. Ghost Mode allows parents to only see the general range of where their child is, rather than the specific location. Apart from Ghost Mode, Mitic and TeenView also helped Life360 create a TikTok account. According to Mitic, they hoped this account would humanize the brand more, as well as further improve outreach.
After working with Life360, Mitic saw even larger potential for the services TeenView could be providing to other companies. He expanded TeenView by creating quantitative market research services, an organized panel group and a service called TeenView Chat, where 10 teens group chat with a company to help answer all of their questions. The goal of these additions were to help client needs on a larger scale. The TeenView team also released a set of services for social media management, specifically for TikTok and Discord.
Despite TeenView’s success, Mitic ultimately made the decision to close the company. “It was incredibly hard to run a business with your friends,” Mitic said. “I was worrying about equity and time and how much people were getting paid.” It took some adjusting for Mitic to learn how to manage finances. “I didn’t think I was going to have to file my own taxes and create an LLC [Limited Liability Company], it was all super foreign,” he said.
Yao agreed with Mitic that running a business with friends definitely had its ups and downs. “It was fun to be able to chat with my friends about work,” Yao said. “But other times there was some conflict because everyone had different positions.”
Although Mitic combatted this issue by hiring a general manager and team of college interns, he eventually reached a point where running TeenView wasn’t as much fun as it was at the start. Mitic considered passing off his CEO responsibilities to somebody else, and taking more of an advising role, but made the final decision to close his company altogether. “I asked myself, do I really want to do something I’m not totally loving?” he said.
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