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5 Months Pregnant Founder

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 15/03/2016 Melissa Lehman

Throughout my life I've found immense joy in creating. Early in life this was a string of small ventures -- bracelets, babysitting clubs, thumbing through Chinese trading catalogues for toys I could sell; later it was as a consultant bringing programs to life for large companies. For 15 years I enjoyed these projects, but always had an itch to make something from scratch. Something meaningful to the world and for people that I love.
As a mom of two wonderful boys it's natural that what finally made me take the plunge was something that I wanted to exist in the world -- a way to connect parents in a meaningful and mutually beneficial way around a big need.
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That the idea came to me when I was 5 months pregnant felt like a footnote to me, but for many it was the main story. The transformation of your identity when you become a mom is hard to describe before it happens. People project on pregnant women -- their own story, their wife's, their mom's. There is something lovely and universal about pregnancy, but it can also feel remarkably confining. I knew I'd come up with a great idea, but other people thought I was delusional, hormonal, and overly-optimistic to embark on this venture when I was pregnant. I was told that no one would fund a pregnant woman, and that people would question my commitment and my competency with a big baby bump.
In some ways pregnancy is a great time to start something new. With both my pregnancies I had a natural energy burst in my second and third trimesters, and it was fun to direct this energy to Pogo (yes, there are also exhausting times too!). Pregnancy can also be a super creative time -- the notion of 'nesting' is pretty common and can mean a gorgeous nursery or creative energy spent on a new endeavor.
Focusing on rides for kids was motivated by a desire to free up time for busy parents. When you look at where moms, dads and other caregivers spend most of their time, driving is the clear winner. Some parents drive up to 20 hours a week -- from home to school, sports practices, rehearsals, friends' houses and daycare. Often making multiple laps across town in rush hour traffic. Now don't get me wrong, there can be awesomeness in these rides: secrets divulged, quality conversation, device-less hours, singing. But do we need 20 hours of it? What if we could carve out 2 hours for yoga, or a couple evenings to make dinner rather than buying it, or the chance for your baby to nap at home and not in the car?
There is tremendous opportunity because for almost all of these rides there are other parents going your way, and they usually have extra seats. Why not share? We are building Pogo to make carpooling dead-simple by getting rid of the Excel spreadsheets and the long text strings and automating the coordination, the reminding and the scheduling. We are also making sure Pogo has your back so if you need a ride and no one can do it then we've got you covered with the most amazing, caring and well vetted drivers from within the Pogo carpool community.
I intend to use this blog to share our journey with Pogo. In the last year we've designed and tested an app, built a small team and made some wonderful connections, but we have a long way to go. While I didn't appreciate being under-estimated while pregnant, it's certainly making the journey much richer to build this company while also growing my family. I look forward to sharing the ins and outs of that wild ride here with you.
This post is a part of Verizon's Powerful Answers initiative -- a multi-million dollar challenge that encourages entrepreneurs to provide powerful solutions for the social issues of our day.

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