Being a parent is not an easy thing in today’s world, and finding the best things for your kids is even more difficult. Not only do you have to make sure that their basic needs are met, you also have to keep them from getting bored and hopefully enrich them along the way so they learn something. The App helps you to “find great places for your kids”, be it moms, dads, grandparents, or other people who care for children. TheAppleGoogle had a talk with Sara Mauskopf, who told some amazing stories regarding Winnie. Here’s what she had to say:
What were your thoughts while coming up with an App like Winnie?
Having a child changes the way you see the world. Places you go and things you do are all viewed through the lens of being a parent. There’s all this information you need as a parent that’s not accessible on your phone. Today parents have to get that information through trial and error or by asking other parents. We saw a huge need to bring technology to the parenting space, a space that has really been under-served by tech.
What makes Winnie a completely different App, from others?
There’s really nothing like Winnie today. As a mobile App, it lets parents find the best places to take kids, with confidence that the facilities they need will be available. It also contains stories and tips from parents themselves, the gems of information you can’t find anywhere else. So, the data in the App is a mix of verified data Winnie provides (e.g. what facilities a park has) and crowd-sourced data users provide about their experience visiting a place with their family.
How was the response of your team when you were planning to develop an App like Winnie?
Winnie was started by Sara Mauskopf and Anne Halsall. We both have an extensive background in building consumer products, and as parents, realized that there there was a need to bring some of that great product experience to the parenting space. In the beginning it was just us building it so we only had to convince ourselves it was a good idea 🙂
What challenges did you face during its development?
The greatest challenge was in collecting the parent-specific metadata about places, like if a restroom has a changing table or if a park has great playground equipment. Most of this information doesn’t exist today so we had to try to get a lot of it from scratch and then develop an efficient process for scaling that.
Winnie has become pretty popular amongst the people. Can you share the marketing strategy that you used?
Right now all our marketing is just word of mouth. The great thing about parents is they talk to other parents so one parent can influence many others. We recently launched our “Friends of Winnie” program so that our best users can be ambassadors of the product and spread the word to more parents.
Developing an App like Winnie must have involved a lot of research. Who did you look up to when you needed help?
We privately beta tested Winnie for 3 months with a group of about 400 parents before launching in the App Store. During the beta test we ran surveys and talked to users to better understand the market and what we should be building.
How does your App manage to help parents to choose the right thing for their kids?
Right now the goal of Winnie is to provide information about places that parents care about so they have the information they need to choose what’s right for them. We also show what other local parents recommend to help give parents ideas about what they can go do with their kids.
Have you developed any Apps for Android? If not, do you plan to do so?
Winnie is currently only available on iOS but we plan to have web and Android versions soon.
Any future Apps that you are currently working? Can you share its details?
We are 100% focused on making Winnie as awesome as possible. We have a lot of stuff planned and in the works to make the App better.
Lastly, what advice would like to give to upcoming developers?
I encourage developers to think about building Apps for markets that have been undeserved by technology. Not every App has to be a cool new social network or game. I’d encourage developers to try to solve real problems that exist for people where tech can provide a solution.
You can always download the iOS App here