Being a parent can be tough! That’s why we appreciate any company that creates a shortcut or finds a way to ease the daily grind of parenthood. Startup companies are everywhere, and not surprisingly, many of them are founded by parents in business who had a genius idea and ran with it. After all, who better to solve parenting problems than parents themselves? From kid’s meal delivery services to cribs that rock babies to sleep, we’ve rounded up 15 startups designed to make parenting life easier. Scroll down to learn more.
All parents, at some point, have wished that they could be in more places at once. But, unless you’ve cloned yourself, the reality is that the only way to get it all done is to ask for help. And one place to start is finding transportation for your kids that will help them maintain their educational pursuits without the added stress of playing chauffeur. Sure, parents could use one of the many ride platforms, but precious cargo like kids requires a better solution.
Zūm, a transportation service for kids, offers optimized transportation solutions and fulfills daily transportation needs, “Whether it’s home-to-school transportation, off-campus events, or delivery of meals and educational materials.”
Wonderschool is often described as an Airbnb for daycare services, and it also helps launch in-home preschools and daycares. The idea for the startup came from co-founders Chris Bennett and Arrel Gray who saw too many parents worried about finding child care. So they designed a company to increase access to high-quality early childhood care for families.
Wonderschool empowers experienced educators and childcare providers to run their own in-home businesses while providing service to other families in their communities. The programs are diverse and designed to educate in the warmth of an in-home child care program.
It’s not uncommon for stay-at-home parents in communities to babysit each other’s children on occasion. But sometimes making the connection between parents looking for care and parents looking to provide that service isn’t easy. If you’re new to your neighborhood or just don’t know where to look, this next startup is for you!
Helen Mayer, the founder of Otter, was in this same boat in 2020, turning down a dream job because she couldn’t find safe, reliable, and affordable care for her twins. Wondering if she was alone in this, she went to her community for feedback and received overwhelming feedback that cemented her desire to help parents in situations like hers. Shortly after, Otter was born, offering parents a tool that “matches parents who need childcare with stay-at-home parents who can care for their kids.”
Have you heard of the “fourth trimester?” If you haven’t, we're talking about the first three months after giving birth. It’s a time of adjustment for your baby and you that requires a lot of support! Enter the My Fourth app!
Major Care Doulas founder, Mandy Major, created the My Fourth app to help extend the care delivered to her clients into the fourth trimester, saying that their tagline is “put a doula in your pocket,” and adding that “[our mission is] to mainstream postpartum doula care and use digital tools to make it as affordable and accessible as possible. We track pregnancy so diligently in this country but totally fail families in the fourth trimester. We're left to figure it all out on our own. Parents need education, connection, support, and personalized advice! That's why we blend bite-sized content with regular text check-ins from our doulas. Continuous care is what it's all about!”
It’s officially the future, and although many advances in technology have made parenting easier, there are some that have created challenges that parents might not be ready for. Like when your 10-year-old asks for their first cell phone. Gulp. Parents who feel completely unprepared for this big step are not alone. In fact, Pinwheel, “smartphones that enable responsible and healthy usage with modes managed by parents for everyday kids' life,” was founded on that very feeling.
Dane Witbeck founded Pinwheel when his eight-year-old son announced that his friend got an iPhone back in 2019. A user himself, he says “Pinwheel lets [me] see his grades in real-time and helps him focus on what matters most by excluding web browsers, app stores and social media. And of course, it supports all of the basic functions like calls, text, and GPS locations, so I can keep an eye on him if he forgets to tell me that he's going to a friend's house after school!”
Got a kid that’s ready for their very own cell phone? Try Pinwheel and use our exclusive promo code TINYBEANS for 10% off.
Having a new baby is a beautiful experience that brings parents memories to cherish for a lifetime. But it’s also a time of complete exhaustion from all those sleepless nights soothing baby back to sleep every hour. If only there was a crib that would rock your baby back to sleep for you. Oh, wait, there is!
According to Cradlewise Co-founder and CEO, Radhika Patil, “Modern-day baby monitors notify you once the baby wakes up crying and that’s too late already. Cradlewise is the world’s first crib that senses the first signs of stirring and automatically rocks the baby to sleep. This proactive soothing helps safeguard sleep for babies.” The genius crib, made with natural materials, was designed to grow with your baby—adjusting from bassinet to crib—and has a built-in smart baby monitor and sound system for playing white noise and other curated playlists that can be connected to their corresponding app, allowing you to track your babies’ sleep journey, and get some shut-eye of your own.
Sometimes one of the toughest parts about being a working parent is finding childcare for the kiddos. That’s where Vivvi comes in to make life easier. Think of Vivvi as the Four Seasons of Childcare, but for medium-sized employers. This startup provides employer-sponsored childcare for companies of all sizes. The care is provided either on-site or near the company and is geared toward kids ages newborn to five years old.
Vivvi’s co-founders Ben Newton and Charles Bonello designed Vivvi to make it possible for companies of all sizes to implement a childcare program and change their employees' lives.
Spending hours grocery shopping, prepping and serving meals, and cleaning up, only to have your child pick at their plate? Yup, it's exhausting. The founders of Little Spoon felt the same way! That’s why they started a meal delivery service for babies to big kids to bring clean, non-GMO meals and snacks right to your door. Its mission is to make parents' lives easier while offering the healthiest, tastiest food options for children. From chicken potstickers to turkey meatballs and even fresh smoothies and vitamins, your time, and your child’s nutrition and tastebuds are covered.
What parent hasn’t scrambled to find a last-minute photographer for birthday parties, holidays and family photo sessions? Shoott.com makes that problem obsolete. This startup provides on-demand professional photography at affordable rates. Shoott.com offers 30-minute photo sessions with an elite level photographer at select iconic outdoor locations. Sessions are complementary to book, and you only pay for the photos you love at $15 or less. The company launched in New York City, and select cities in California and Texas, and will expand nationwide in spring 2020.
“Our website makes it easy for anyone to book a professional photographer on demand for all of life's occasions, big or small—including holiday, engagement and family portraits as well as headshots or content for social media,” said Jennifer Tsay, CEO and co-founder of Shoott.com.
Play Kits by Lovevery are a subscription box service that delivers the right science-backed, non-toxic toys babies both want and need, at exactly the right stage of development, so that parents can rest assured they're giving their little ones the best possible start in life. Kits are delivered every other month and start at $36 per month. Lovevery was created to help parents give their little ones an easy alternative to screen time, as well as the ability to maintain a minimalist lifestyle, by cutting out the unnecessary excess and delivering all that baby needs for playtime.
"At Lovevery, we make the science of early childhood more approachable and help parents feel confident they're giving their children the best start,” said Jessica Rolph, Lovevery co-founder and CEO. “We work with child development experts to distill all the research into a system of essential products that are stage-based and crafted with care. You can see that care in our Play Kits and our Play Gym, and it's why parents love what we do."
If you’re a parent, sleep struggles have likely been a reality with your little ones at one point or another. That’s why Huckleberry was founded, as a new way to improve the way kids sleep. This app uses artificial intelligence and pediatric sleep experts to create individualized sleep plans for every family. Through Huckleberry, parents take a diagnostic quiz, track sleeping hours, naps and bedtimes, and the app predicts when your kiddo will be sleeping next. The program has several other features that can be purchased beyond the free app as well.
Huckleberry was co-founded by Jessica Toh who states that as a new parent, she never expected her baby would wake up every few hours for nearly two years, in spite of all the books and methods she tried. “It turned out there were many others in the same position,” said Toh. “I felt in this day and age there must be a way to solve this for all the sleep-deprived people out there who just want the best for their children.”
Aiko and Egor Animation 4 Autism
Aiko and Egor Animation 4 Autism is an animated video series and interactive app designed to help kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The activities use evidence-based principles to create activities that focus on simple animation and language for kids with ASD. The app is produced by See Beneath, whose founders are Gerin Gaskin, Casey Hoffman and Jim Turner, all of whom have a background in autism intervention and research from the University of California San Diego. These individuals spent more than 7,500 hours sitting on the floor with kids under the age of three diagnosed with ASD to develop the app.
“Our vision is a world where all children with autism will develop to their full potential,” according to the See Beneath website. “Our mission is to engage and educate children with autism (ASD) by creating and providing innovative tools that foster positive change and help children reach developmental milestones.”
Get ready to swipe right on the latest app to help moms make friends. Peanut is a Tinder-type app that matches moms so they can meet other like-minded moms. Once you create an account, Peanut shows you women in your neighborhood with similar-aged kids and creates matches based on shared interests. Then it’s up to you to create playdates and start conversations.
Michelle Kennedy came up with the idea for Peanut after having her first baby, Finlay, and was struggling to meet other moms. She decided to create a product that would make life as a new mom a little easier. “Peanut is more than an app to connect mothers,” according to Kennedy via Peanut’s website. “It’s about recognizing a pain point that millions of women encounter and finding a solution.”
Cognitive ToyBox allows teachers to do what they do best: teach. This gamified early childhood assessment allows teachers to test a student’s learning and social-emotional readiness without spending countless hours administering tests. Here’s how it works: kids play five-minute assessment games and the results are then sent to the teacher automatically. The tool saves the teacher hours of work and provides objective data for teachers and parents.
Co-founders Tammy Kwan and Dr. Brenden Lake created Cognitive ToyBox because they wanted to develop an evidence-based technology solution to support early childhood educators, parents and children. The company currently provides preschool and kindergarten learning assessments.
Every parent has been through it. You confirm plans and then you can’t find a babysitter. That’s where Nanno comes in. This app allows parents to secure a sitter within minutes. There is no minimum hour requirement and you can book as few as two hours in advance. Nanno runs a full criminal background check on all its sitters and requires a skill set for every person. They also offer on-demand matching and booking, quality control based on reviews, and free cancellation protection.
Liz Oertle, CEO and Co-founder of Nanno, is passionate about leveraging emerging technologies to solve real-world problems of everyday people, especially parents and families. A former startup lawyer turned startup founder, Oertle met Desi McAdam, a software engineer and director of a software consultancy. Together, they decided to build a product that would solve a real-world problem that desperately needed to be solved. That’s when the idea of Nanno took form.
—Candace Nagy with Leah Singer