Aruni Gunasegaram talks about her new startup focused on parenting, the mobile phone application space, and the importance of Search Engine Optimization.
I like your blog post on your fundraising toolkit for entrepreneurs. I meet many entrepreneurs who engage with investors but don’t even have a one page summary of their business. What is your background?
I have a background in accounting and an MBA. I was founding CEO of a startup back in the late 1990s called Isochron. Entrepreneurship is in my family tree. I was not always a great employee at the Big 6 companies because I wanted to do things differently. If I saw a better way of doing things I wanted to try it which didn’t always go over well with my superiors. My grandfather was a doctor who made and sold baby powder, distributed baby formula and later started a pathology laboratory and then a medical school in Sri Lanka.
What is the name of your company?
It’s called Babblesoft and focuses on building web and mobile applications supported by a social aspect for those transitioning into parenthood.
How did you come up with the idea for it?
After our son was born we were looking for ways to record information about his activities but we didn’t find anything out there so I thought it was a good place to innovate.
Is your product up and running?
We’re in the beta version with our Baby Insights and Baby Say Cheese applications and the site has been up and running for a while now. We’re now raising funding for the next phase which is to add a social networking element to it and build out more applications
What’s the new concept about?
It’s about connecting people through mobile web and web 2.0 technology so you can find parents going through the same problems you have.
Is this just for parents?
No, it will be for people who are trying to conceive as well.
What is your revenue model?
It’s a mix of advertising and subscriptions.
How does the site help parents aside from connecting to others?
We have a number of applications. One of them is called Baby Insights and keeps track of information about the baby such as breastfeeding and bottle feeding schedules, baby sleep times, mom’s pumping schedule, and diaper changes.
Isn’t there quite a bit of competition in that space?
There are general social networking sites, but not many focused on this space.
How do you drive traffic to your site?
SEO has turned out to be the best source for visitors so far- far better than traditional PR as a matter of fact. We only actively started engaging in SEO in mid December 2007 and we are starting to see traffic double to our site.
What Web 2.0 technologies do you find most useful?
There’s off-the-shelf backend technology that you can use to run it. We plan to integrate mobile applications with our social and web application suite of applications as well. Our technologies will focus on helping people identify others who have a similar situation or issues.
What do you find in the mobile space?
Our current Baby Insights application is built using Microsoft .Net. With additional funding we plan to expand the mobile application to mobile browsers. Our audience consists of parents and they are mobile. They are out and about and they use their mobile phones a great deal. I think everyone is still exploring the mobile arena for expansion of web applications so we’re still early in the game and learning along with the rest of the companies out there with a mobile presence.