SVHS grads launch Kindred

David Donnelley, an economics teacher at Sonoma Valley High School, is known not only for his work in the classroom, but also for his invaluable support of former students starting their own small businesses. A savvy businessman before he dedicated his life to teaching, Donnelley offers expert advice and the occasional financial assistance.

“I consider myself the midwife to the businesses. I’m just there to offer whatever help is needed,” said Donnelley.

His most recent effort was to aid two former students, SVHS class of 2007 alumnus Steven Rueter and Dexter Lohnes, and their company Kindred Inc. Focused on home management, the business recently released a mobile application called Kindred Home.

Rueter, a graduate of Boston College, studied economics and linguistics but realized that his career would rest on answering a question he believes to be fundamental and essential to the future.

“How many parents ask, ‘Is this (cellphone) doing my child more harm than good?’ I’m positive that smart phones will play a large part in our generation’s future, so why not use it to our advantage?” said Rueter. “In college, I shared a dorm with six other people, and it could get pretty hectic because there was no way for all of us to coordinate household duties.”

Rueter said he enjoyed the time he spent with his roommates, but also acknowledges that the household could have run much more smoothly had there been a simple way to communicate with each other. With a chaotic college dorm experience under his belt, combined with his positive outlook on technology, Kindred is where all the pieces came together.

Lacking the technical skills necessary to design a mobile application, Rueter teamed up with high school friend Lohnes, who was at the time a computer game programmer for Zinga. After Rueter became familiar with programming software, such as X Code by Apple, he and Lohnes began production of the app.

“I wanted to make an awesome product that is comprehensive, fluid and beautiful. It’s always being updated and improved, but I am happy about how it is turning out.”

Kindred is an application that connects the members of a household, creating a central place to discuss the daily needs of a household to function more efficiently.

The application itself is presented like a typical household, consisting of a fridge door that carries a shopping list; a notepad to track daily tasks; a method of voting on topics such as what to have for dinner and a place to post photos, videos or text.

Each component of the fridge is designed to eliminate miscommunications that may occur if one member of the household attempts to contact each individual member.

Imagine a single, working mother raising three teenagers who all have soccer practice after school five days a week, who need to coordinate schedules for everything from chore lists to meeting times.

One day, she is stuck at work and can’t pick up her children after practice as well as shop for dinner.

With Kindred, she can alert the oldest child to walk home with his or her siblings and create a voting option of restaurants that each members can vote on to have dinner. After an evening out, the family could post a picture or video of their fun night eating at the Red Grape.

Kindred offers a private and productive medium for home management, providing the experience of being at home, wherever you are.

“We aren’t in the business to compete with the big dogs like Facebook, because we aren’t trying to recreate a social network, we are trying to foster the environment of a home – the most important social network – into a safe, productive and connective mobile hub accessible anywhere,” Rueter said.

Kindred is available exclusively for Apple products and can be downloaded as inkindred in the app store.

For more information, visit kickstarter.com/projects/kindredinc/kindred.