Meet Mighty, an e-commerce platform where kids are the boss; a 'digital lemonade stand' ' TechCrunch

Enrichment programs for children under the age of 18 are limited to camps, school, and sports. Money-making opportunities are virtually non-existent.A year old startup, Mighty, is based in Los Angeles and offers a way for younger children to open their own online store. Mighty was founded by Ben Goldhirsh and Dana Mauriello. They were both founders of GOOD magazine and Sidewalk Labs. The startup hopes to attract families with its pitch that it is at the intersection of entertainment, fintech and ed tech.The founders often have their own experiences, so the idea was often based on them. Goldhirsh, a Costa Rican national, became concerned about his two daughters who attended a small six-person school. He was concerned that they would fall behind their peers in the States and began tutoring them using Khan Academy, among other software platforms. However, the girls' reaction was not exactly positive.They were like, F*cking you, father. You're going to make us go back to school after we finish school. "He encouraged them to sell their bracelets online as he wasn't sure what to do. It would teach them math skills as well as business planning (he had them write one), marketing, and startup capital. He says it worked and that he shared the success of his project-based learning initiative with friends. They began to ask him if he could help their children get started.Fast forward, and Goldhirsh & Mauriello, who managed a crowdfunding platform Goldhirsh had invested in before joining Etsy, say that they are now leading a still-in beta startup that has become home for 3,000 CEOs, as Mighty calls it.It's not surprising that this is the case. Children spend more time online than ever before. Many businesses of a real-world nature that once employed young children are losing their appeal. It is difficult to find work before high school. The Fair Labor Standards Act of the Department of Labor, which establishes 14 as the minimum age for employment, makes it hard to babysit or sell cookies on the street. Employers worry that young workers might not be worth the effort.It is also considered a solid idea by investors. Mighty has recently secured seed funding of $6.5 million from Animo Ventures. Participants include Maveron, Humbition and Sesame Workshop. Collaborative Fund, NaHCO3, a family-office, and NaHCO3.It can be difficult to create a platform that is accessible to children. First, 11-year-olds are not likely to have the persistence and drive necessary to run a successful business. Goldhirsh compares the business to a 21st-century lemonade stand. However, it is quite a different task to run a business that doesn't collapse at the end of an afternoon.Goldhirsh admits that kids don't want to hear that they must work hard or follow a particular path. He says that Mighty does not mind seeing kids who come to Mighty for a weekend to make a few bucks. He insists that many others possess an unmistakable entrepreneurial spirit and tend to stay put. Goldhirsh says that the seed funding helped the company to retain its young CEOs.Many people are frustrated that they can't sell their handmade items on Mighty. They are instead invited to sell customized items such as hats and totes or stickers, which they then ship to their customers via Printful, Mighty's current manufacturing partner. Mighty gets a portion of each sale.Through a partnership Mighty has formed with Novica, an impact market that sells through National Geographic, they can also sell items made from global artisans.It was intended to make the process as simple as possible, but customers demand more. Goldhirsh explains that Mighty intends to allow smaller entrepreneurs to sell their products and services, which is something the platform does not currently support.Mighty intends to make money by offering subscription services and collecting transaction-based revenue.The startup is intriguing on its own, but it will need to compete with established players like Shopify if it wants to gain traction.Parents, if not advocates for children, could also be able to oppose what Mighty is doing. Entrepreneurship can be both exhilarating or demoralizing. It's a rollercoaster ride some may not want their children to ride.Mauriello claims they haven't received that type of feedback yet. Mighty, for one, has launched an online community where young CEOs can support each other and share sales tips. She says they are active participants there.She also believes that there are many lessons to be learned from creating a Mighty store. She says storytelling and selling are two of them. But, most importantly, young customers at Mighty are learning how to fail and get back up.Goldhirsch: There are kids who think, "This is more difficult than I expected." It is not easy to launch a website and see the money come in. But they enjoy the fact that they are making a living from it.