Building Family-Friendly Products and Companies with Sara Mauskopf and Anne Halsall
Dec. 11, 2018, 9 p.m.
Today I'm visiting San Francisco's Mission district to chat with Winnie co-founders, Sara Mauskopf and Anne Halsall. They have a unique background working at large tech companies like Google, Twitter, Quora, and Postmates, where they worked together before starting Winnie, “the companion app for parents.”
As someone who's built and admires community-driven businesses, it was a pleasure to dive into how Winnie is creating community and a platform for parents. As mothers, Sara and Anne exemplify founder/market fit and are uniquely qualified to build a product for parents.
In this episode we talk about:
- How Anne and Sara found founder/market fit and how their personal experience — Sara and Anne both have two children — informs not only how they built Winnie the product, but also how they built Winnie the company.
- How Winnie combats fake parenting news, and why it was important for them to take a stance on certain issues and actively moderate out certain topics.
- The power of communities aligned around a single vertical. We compare custom-built communities to generalized community-building tools like Facebook and Reddit.
Of course, we also talk about some of their favorite products, including a way to continuously share your location with other members of your family, an app to share photos with family members, and another that captures one second every day and over time turns it into a highlight reel for your life.
We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, GE Ventures, Rally Rd, and AngelList for their support. 😸
Quotes from This Episode
“Anne and I were very explicit from the beginning that we wanted to build the most family-friendly startup. We decided that we are not going to work long hours, our employees are not going to work long hours, and they’re not going to work on the weekends. We’re going to give employees flexibility and have them go on vacations. It’s a huge competitive advantage to be family-friendly.” — Sara
[On including the option to post anonymously on Winnie] “Sometimes parenting questions are tough — tough, real stuff that you don’t want to put on your Facebook profile, where you can’t help but use your real name. You may not even feel comfortable talking to your mother’s group about some of the problems that you are having. So, we felt really motivated to make it work from the beginning.” — Anne
“Having children has helped me a ton in putting the highs and lows of a startup in perspective. It’s just not that serious. It’s helped me build that resilience because the lows aren’t really that low. The stakes just don’t seem that high, and its actually enabled me to persevere through things where other people would have quit.” — Sara
“We have other special features tailored to our audience, such as the ability to mask photos. We have these cute little stickers (that are adorable) and there’s a face-detection feature that will put little animals masks over the faces of any children that are in the photos that you’re posting. We make it super-easy and even fun to anonymize that photo.” — Anne
Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode
1 Second Everyday — Turn your favorite moments into meaningful movies.
Google Photos — Free storage and automatic organization for all your memories.
Life360 — Your new family circle.