'Rebellious' Entrepreneur Starts Digital Academy in Muncie

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(Image courtesy of Them LLC) (Image courtesy of Them LLC)

An 18-year-old in Muncie has launched a program to teach 10-15-year-olds basic digital programming skills. Them LLC founder Nate Spell uses the Roblox online game-creation platform to lay down a foundation of logic and problem-solving techniques. Spell, who got his start in the digital realm by publishing his own e-magazine, says more than 600 students have attended Them Academy courses since they began in January.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Spell discussed what drove him to create the training initiative. "I don't really like following the crowds. As cliche as it sounds, I really just don't like doing what everyone else is doing. I want to do something different, I want to do something unique and I want to do something that's mine -- create something that's mine," he said. "As well as just creativeness. Just creating something out of nothing. Seeing the opportunity, seeing the need and filling it."

The in-person training academy, which is a partnership with the Innovation Connector in Muncie, netted Spell a first place finish regionally at the statewide InnovateWithIN pitch competition. From the gaming-focused courses, Spell says the next steps will involve digital storytelling, introduction to graphic design and Amazon Alexa courses.

"For at least the next couple of years, I'd definitely say we're going to be based in Indiana. Indiana is kind of our sweet spot," he said. "Indianapolis is becoming the next tech hub of the United States, so I wouldn't say it would be too smart to move out."

Them Academy has recently started partnering with Noblesville High School on artificial intelligence training. The academy's next major event is a Roblox Gaming Club on September 14 and a Roblox Party on September 21, both at the Innovation Connector. You can find out more about Them Academy by clicking here.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Them Academy Founder Nate Spell discussed what drove him to create the training initiative.
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