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Meet Winnie, the Startup That Will Change the Way You Parent

We realized that helping parents is the most important work we can do.

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BY Quora - 11 Mar 2016

These questions originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answers by Sara Mauskopf, founder and CEO of Winnie, on Quora.

Q: What is Winnie and what will its products do?

Winnie helps parents navigate the world with their children. As a mobile app, it lets parents find the best places to take kids, with confidence that the facilities they need will be available. As a service, it is the most robust directory of local information specifically for parents, backed by a blend of automated data collection, curation, and crowdsourcing.

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 from as basic as "where can I change my child's diaper?" to as open-ended as "what should we do this afternoon?" Winnie will answer those questions and more.

Q: What is the origin story of Winnie?

Anne Halsall and I met at Postmates. Being the only mothers on the entire product/eng/design team, we immediately bonded. Anne is someone I greatly respected for her product thinking and when I gave birth to my daughter, Anne also became someone I turned to as I was figuring out how to be a parent.

We got together one weekend and were talking about how there's all this technology out there to make every other aspect of our lives easier but when it comes to the hardest job we have -- parenting -- there's nothing.

We talked about a lot of problems in the parenting space that we wanted to tackle and finally settled on building what we're now calling Winnie. Although it was a big leap for us to quit our jobs and work on this, we realized that helping parents is the most important work we can do.

Q: What are the most important problems that new parents have that can be made better with apps and technology?

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: With all the innovation taking place with mobile apps, why have there been so few good parenting apps?

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.

These questions originally appeared on Quora. - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:


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