This Is the Only App You Need to Find Kid-Friendly Places All Over the Country
3 weeks ago, 22:18
Whether you just moved to a new neighborhood or you're on a family vacation, you've probably wished there was a faster way to find the perfect playground for your kids to blow off steam or the nearest public place to change your baby's diaper. This very conundrum is what inspired Sara Mauskopf and Anne Halsall to create Winnie, an app that's being called "Yelp for parents."
Both Silicon Valley vets and millennial moms, Mauskopf and Halsall both have impressive experience in tech. Mauskopf spent time at Google, Twitter, and YouTube, and Halsall was at Google, Inkling, and Quora before the two crossed paths at Postmates. When Mauskopf returned to work after maternity leave with her first child, she and Halsall—who had just had her second child—hit it off.
"We immediately bonded as the only moms there," Halsall tells Parents.com. "And as a new mom, she had all these questions for me. When she had her baby, she struggled a lot with feeling really isolated and stuck at home. She didn’t know where she could take her baby." For instance, she wanted to know how she could easily find spots that were friendly for nursing or had changing tables.
Halsall's answer for her at the time: "It's word of mouth, you talk to people, and there isn’t really a centralized place to find that information." This obviously struck the pair is bizarre, being that as millennial parents who work in tech, they knew they could use Postmates to "get a burrito in 30 minutes or less," but they couldn't pull up an app to find something as basic as a spot to change a diaper. "We felt this was a common problem, and we were passionate to solve it, and we took the leap," Halsall explains.
Both women put in their notice at Postmates, and the next day, they started working on what's now known as Winnie. That was back in 2016, and in just under a year, the app grew to over 100K active users.
Clearly, the duo's suspicions that this concept was one parents were in need of was spot-on. The app's utilizes crowdsourcing to gather information on family-friendly spots, and Halsall shares that early users were really eager to share information. "When you have kids, you really have to figure out everything yourself, and then, you feel like you’ve won a war, and you want to share that information with the next person, so they benefit," she explains. "From the beginning, I was stricken by how helpful and kind the community was."
She really got the sense that parents using the app were eager to connect and felt like "we're all in this together," sharing their experiences in order to support one another.
Now, Winnie users can pull up the app to connect with their local network of moms and dads, ask questions and get recommendations about anything from sleep training to local childcare, find local, fun activities for kids or new friends and playdates, as well as browse and search a directory of family-friendly restaurants, shopping, parks, etc.
Of his experience using Winnie, a dad named Andy S., ...
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