Peggy Thorp was a secretary at Rug Doctor, a carpet cleaning franchise.
Thorp was “the glue that held everything together,” said Ethan Beck, whose father owned the Rug Doctor where Thorp worked. She oversaw the logistics of the business, handling administrative work like appointment bookings and timekeeping.
When Thorp eventually retired, Beck’s father attempted to do the work that she had done. Administrative work began to consume his work days.
“He was spread so thin that he had no time at all,” Beck said.
Beck soon realized, however, that a lot of the work that Thorp had done throughout the 1990s could now be automated with software — so Beck, along with his sister Isabella, created PeggyAI, a software workflow solution that automates different business processes, such as timekeeping, equipment tracking and employee safety.
“It’s a software to automate what Peggy did,” Beck said. “Thus, PeggyAI.”
The software was originally intended to be used solely for the Becks’ family businesses, but once Beck saw how helpful it could be, he set out to bring PeggyAI to businesses everywhere.
“It’s something that everybody can benefit from,” Beck said. “Because it started with just us, we want to take that to everybody else and help as many people as we can.”
Currently, Beck’s target market is agriculture companies. Through its automated workflows, PeggyAI software allows business owners to focus on other aspects of their companies.
Beck said he wants to provide more freedom to business owners by building a platform that “gives them their time back.”
Beck, who graduated from Cal Poly in 2022 with a degree in business administration, joined the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Hatchery shortly before graduating. The Hatchery teaches Cal Poly students how to build a business by providing resources like mentors, guest speakers and workshops that teach the fundamentals of entrepreneurship.
“The Hatchery offers so many different resources that you can tap into and really help wherever you need it,” Beck said.
Since joining the Hatchery, Beck has benefitted from coaching and mentorship that has taught him the best practices for pitching his product. He is now able to give an informative and impactful business pitch that has already attracted clients.
PeggyAI is a fully functional product that is currently serving two clients. Beck is now working to attract more users, and he said he eventually hopes to expand PeggyAI to be “the Excel of business processes.”
PeggyAI was “made for founders,” Beck said, and he hopes to see his startup grant those founders more freedom to focus on the things that matter most.