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Apps That Help Parents

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 10/03/2016 Quora

These questions originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.Answers by Sara Mauskopf, CEO & Co-founder, Winnie. Former Director of Product, Postmates, on Quora.Q: What are the most important problems new parents have that can be made better with apps and technology?

A: Fundamentally, caring for a child is a job. It's hard work. In other industries you see a huge selection of services, software, and tools to help people do their work better. I think historically society has overlooked the work that caregivers do (because historically they have been mostly women), and overlooked the benefits of improving their ability to do their jobs well and happily.

The macro problem new parents have is being stuck in a new, incredibly important job they have no experience doing, with no tools to make it easier and no compass to guide them. New technologies can help in all the ways they help other workers; knowledge sharing, health & safety, productivity tools, training, networking, communication, planning, or even just making the work more fun.

Q: Are male venture investors biased against parenting applications and consumer internet services?A: All investors (and maybe all people) can have a hard time seeing the value of a product they won't use that solves problems they don't have. Venture capital investors especially are not a representative sample of the broader public. They skew white, wealthy, and male. If you're building an app for stay-at-home parents or primary caretakers, the investors you pitch are mostly not going to be in that group. You have to go in knowing that they will have a harder time seeing the value of the product not for them and lay more groundwork about what the market looks like and what the opportunity is.
Q: With all the innovation taking place with mobile apps, why have there been so few good parenting apps?

A: If you look at all the previous attempts in this space, most of them failed because either a) they weren't built by parents so they don't actually address real problems parents have or b) their tech sucked because their founders weren't technical. There are very few parenting apps out there started by folks who are technical AND where the founders are actually parents.

So why aren't more technical parents starting companies? Well, starting a company is really hard. It takes a tremendous amount of time, energy and resources. It is easier to start a company when you don't have someone who depends on you for their survival. There are many other appealing and lucrative jobs in tech that don't require as big of a sacrifice.

I think this will start to change as more millennials, who are used to using technology to solve their problems, become parents. People are beginning to see that technology for parents is a greenfield opportunity.

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