If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that parenting is hard. And whether you are a stay at home mom or dad, you need things to do with your child on Sundays, national holidays, and sick days. With scattered information and parenting tips around the internet, wouldn’t it be nice if it were centralized for you based on your location? Introducing Mommy Nearest, the company that is giving you insider activities, discounts, and an overall all encompassing resource for being a parent. With a number of significant partnerships and a constant eye towards expansion, Mommy Nearest is your go to for all things new-parent.
We spoke with CEO Josh Milstein about the company and got the inside scoop on how to be a better parent in the modern world.
Tell us about the product or service:
Mommy Nearest is the all-in-one parenting resource designed to help parents feel more confident – whether they’re looking for local things to do with their children or national content that speaks to a particular moment along the parenting journey, Mommy Nearest provides the support that they’re looking for and in a moment’s notice. Since launching in spring 2013, our award-winning mobile app has been helping parents spend less time searching and more time doing what matters most: enjoying time with their children. The app geo-locates parents and shows them the fifty closest family-friendly places that they might be looking for. Places on the app are then rated and reviewed by other local parents, thus layering in trust that is essential for a parent’s ability to make the best decision for their child.
Today, Mommy Nearest is proud to expand the business into a full-suite and cross-platform media company. Our revamped web property gives parents the technologically advanced resource that they’ve been waiting for. This new web experience will allow parents to read all of our content across all devices, discover hundreds of thousands family-friendly places as well as access hundreds of exclusive deals, special events and much more from our partner businesses. By taking a tech-first approach to everything that we do and by constantly re-investing in ourselves, Mommy Nearest has truly become the go-to resource parents rely on as their children grow, learn and explore the world around them.
Mommy Nearest lists places and publishes content that is available nationwide, with local content specifically catered to the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Bay Area, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. markets.
How is it different?
Unlike many content-heavy blogs and print entities that have dominated the parenting landscape for the past fifteen years, Mommy Nearest offers a robust experience that is accessible on all devices and in different formats. Our proprietary app functionality offers the most robust database of family-friendly places in the country. On web, we’ve incorporated many publishing best-practices that simple blogging platforms just could never reproduce. Additionally, our user-generated contributions are unparalleled and so we are able to deliver a relevant, hyper-local experience, nationwide. Our on-demand content and location based functionality speaks to the needs of this newest generation of parents as does our inclusive content that speaks to the variety of parenting styles openly embraced by this generation.
Mommy Nearest for Business (mommynearest.com/business) our innovative SaaS platform, also offers an unparalleled experience for small businesses looking to reach a highly-targeted audience of local parents. The B2B platform that we’ve built has no competition in a parenting space that has previously solely leveraged antiquated advertising methodologies.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Our market is parents of children aged 0 to 9 years old. Parents, especially first time parents, spend an exorbitant amount of time, money and energy consuming both content and products that could make their lives easier. Additionally, parents spend more time on their mobile devices than any other demographic and so we believe the market offers a perfect-storm when it comes to rate and volume of consumption. Additionally, the parenting space has not seen the rash of early-stage investments that other tech verticals have had and so the market is relatively uncluttered with start-ups. Parenting is not as sexy as many other verticals in the start-up world and so, given the lack of competition despite the rates of consumption, we believe there is a tremendous opportunity for growth.
What is the business model?
Mommy Nearest has a dual revenue stream. Primarily, our main focus is Mommy Nearest for Business, our proprietary SaaS and cross-marketing platform for SMBs in the parenting industry. Our software allows local businesses to schedule and execute promotions in real time on both the app and website. They are also able to send direct-to-mobile push notifications to parents who have “favorited” their business. These notifications generally perform much better than e-mail campaigns because there is far less competition for a parent’s attention on these notifications than on traditional e-mail campaigns. Additionally, businesses have a full-suite of analytics on the platform, including demographic information of the parents who have favorited their business and performance metrics of their messages/promotions. We believe in providing all of the keys that a business would need to run successful campaigns and the reporting they need to continue to optimize.
Additionally, Mommy Nearest offers businesses the ability to run traditional ad campaigns with us. These include e-mail marketing, banners in-app and on web, premium listings on the app and native content.
What inspired the business?
As a past hotel concierge at the Loews Regency Hotel, developing experience helping families navigating NYC with children in-tow , I realized that paper maps were not an ideal solution for a problem that could be solved leveraging location-based technology.
You recently closed a round of funding. Tell us about it. Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Mommy Nearest continues to be self-funded, with our CEO and friends/family being our primary investors. To date, the company has raised roughly $4 million dollars.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Mommy Nearest’s vision is to fill the void for an all-in-one modern parenting and discovery platform. With targeted content at both national and hyper-local users, Mommy Nearest is designed to give moms the confidence they need to explore their world with kids in tow. With the roll-out of our newly re-designed website and app, Mommy Nearest’s interface is easier to use, search and share than ever before – making it the must-have, go-to site and app for any mom both at home or traveling to new places across the country. With local content in seven major cities, Mommy Nearest plans to roll out additional hyper-local content to more cities in 2016 and beyond. The goal is to create a cohesive experience for parents wherever and however they’re searching for us. From there, our goals are to keep people on site and on app a lot longer and to continue to push the technological boundaries in the parenting space.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
I was never told that scaling operations is predicated more on people than it is technology or revenue. At the end of the day, start-ups are about getting many people to believe in a new idea, and that starts with the team that you are trying to build. Without having that belief permeate the company itself, there is no chance that users or businesses will believe in it. Building a strong company culture cannot be overlooked.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Without naming anyone in particular, I would love to centralize all of the investors and entrepreneurs who work locally in the parenting space. There are meetups for nearly every other industry and I think that we would have incredibly stimulating conversations if we were all to get together and discuss the latest trends in the space.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York offers an unparalleled experience when it comes to a density of family-friendly places. Smaller markets may have ten restaurants that could serve a meal for the whole family and have kids menus or high-chairs. In New York, parents are able to be far more discerning when it comes to where to take their children. Given the diversity of places and a hyper-density of family-friendly places all around the city, NYC seemed like the ideal place to have launched a community for parents to discuss the places they take their children.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
Given that we’re all about family-friendly resources, our bar of choice is Barcade in Flatiron and it reflects our company’s desire to have fun (even while we’re consuming cocktails)