This week's Ask the Mompreneur features one of the Charlotte-based startups recently selected for this year's class of RevTech Labs. RevTech Labs is a 3-month program focused on early stage mobile, software, and web companies and provides free office space, mentoring, and programming, culminating with Demo Day where the companies will present to investors.
Podanize is the creation of the husband and wife team of Steven Sacks and Nikki Sacks.
How did you learn about RevTech Labs?
We attended several events for entrepreneurs at Packard Place last year where we became aware of RevTech Labs. Also Steven was part of a project team for Startup Weekend in May 2012 for Autopilot, which went on to be a company that was in the 1st Class of RevTech Labs.
Describe your startup and how you came up with the initial idea.
In short, Podanize helps moms organize their lives in Pods. It is a website and mobile app for moms to help them coordinate their kids' group activities with other moms.
As parents of young, busy kids, we were becoming increasingly overwhelmed by all the coordination necessary, and saw other parents around us in similar situations. From soccer and scouts to playgroups and school classes, moms spend too much time and energy making sure their kids get where they need to go, at the right time, and with the right items. Today, parents coordinate with each other primarily using email which is inefficient as inboxes fill with reply-all chains and one has to dig around to find relevant information.
With Podanize, an organizer of an existing kids’ activity group forms a Pod online and invites the other moms to join. Then the moms create:
- Recurring Events (which can be saved to whatever personal calendar they use)
- Task Lists (to determine what food/equipment/help is needed at an event), and
- Discussion Boards (to make decisions, ask others for help, and build friendships).
Having these online tools together in a unique-yet-simple customer experience will make it easy for millions of moms to save time while being more effective.
What has been the best or most useful part of the program so far?
It’s the opportunity to build relationships with our fellow companies at RevTech Labs and the mentors that RevTech gives us access to. In particular, it provides us with a built-in sounding board to garner specific feedback on our product and to learn what has or hasn't worked for others who have been in a similar position in their company life cycle.
What are you most looking forward to learning?
We are excited to launch our private beta website in April and to start getting feedback from actual Podanize users. We look forward to seeing what functionality users value most and to continue to refine and expand our offering to help moms better organize themselves and coordinate their groups. Additionally, right now, we’re a small, founder-funded company, but with a big idea that we are confident has a meaningful opportunity. We look forward to learning more about the resources available to us, and about how we can become more of an integral part of the Charlotte startup community.
What’s your single best piece of advice to other aspiring startup founders and entrepreneurs?
Drive your concept forward by using Lean Startup methodology and low-tech methods to help define your target audience. Once your product is better defined, then begin the actual development of your product.