Founder: MostBeastlyStudios LLC
Brandon Boynton’s entrepreneurial journey began on the heels of a personal crisis. In middle school, the Pendleton, Ind., native was bullied, physically and mentally, for being different.
“I looked weird, I sounded weird,” he recalls during a phone interview with Entrepreneur. “I was really shy and scared of everyone…” That is, until he began to come out of his shell and eventually gathered the gumption to run for class president, a decision that unfortunately resulted in yet more bullying, only worse than before.
Mean kids ripped down the election campaign posters he’d handmade and taped up around his school. They scrawled hurtful words and names all over them like graffiti. Some of the signs even ended up in school bathrooms, cruelly defiled in urinals.
“What they did, it just tore me up and upset me, to put it lightly,” says Boynton, who began to think suicidal thoughts at the age of 14. “I wanted to see the people who did it punished, not in an evil way, but just in a way that would address their behavior and make it stop.”
Seeking justice but not wanting to invite retaliation, he anonymously reported his tormentors by slipping a written complaint about them into a bully box, a wall-mounted mailbox-style repository intended to be a safe place for students to inform on bullies under the cloak of anonymity.
Using his school’s bully box got the budding software developer thinking he could design a better one, an app-based bullying prevention and anonymous reporting tool that he thought kids would be more likely to use -- and not make fun of.
With the love and support of his parents (a police officer and a school teacher) and the business skills and resources he’d gleaned from his local chamber of commerce's Youth Entrepreneurship Academy program, he launched his own software development startup, MostBeastlyStudios LLC.
The company’s first product is The BullyBox, Boynton’s unique digital spin on the old-school bully box. He designed and developed the anonymous bullying reporting app, standing up to bullies in his own, peaceful way that he says he hopes changes the world for the better. “I make apps that make a difference. Not games. Apps that improve lives,” Boynton says.
Schools pay $499 per year to enable their students to use the app. Some 100,000 students in 22 U.S. states, and in New Zealand, Spain, France and the United Kingdom, now use The BullyBox.
Who’s having the last laugh now, bullies? Brandon Boynton, that’s who. Yes, that guy, the one on his way to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in the fall -- for free, room and board included. The university offered him “very close to a full ride,” he says. To top it off, the Lilly Endowment, Inc. foundation also awarded him a four-year, full-tuition college scholarship.
See? Good guys don’t always finish last.
Brandon’s favorite part of being a kidpreneur:
“Being a social entrepreneur and giving back. I take it seriously. As a social entrepreneur, you’re doing something to improve society, and I’m committed to doing that, to keeping that promise to myself.”
Brandon’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:
“Always remember that being an entrepreneur is more than just being someone willing to take a risk in creating a business. It’s about doing something that forces you outside of your comfort zone -- and outside of the comfort zone of your peers and your social group. It allows you to do something great, and to devote your time and effort to a cause that has a positive impact. That’s true entrepreneurship.”