Having kids is a crazy thing to do. Sure they can be cute and carry on your family’s legacy, but along with all that comes a whole lot of questions, challenges, and work.
Smile Family is developer of mobile apps for families. It has raised $1.5 million and just released its first Android app “Smile Mom” — a mobile social network where moms can post “daily episodes” of raising their child, share and organize photos, connect with moms nearby, and exchange parenting tips.
“Moms with kids between age one and seven is roughly 10% of the population, and they prefer using smartphones since they are busy and tired after a long day,” CEO John Kim told VentureBeat. “Moms deserve better tools to become better informed, well-connected, and most of all, be happier every day.”
A study by Experian claims that mothers with children under 5 are more active on social media than the general public and are most active on mobile. Social networks provide a great outlet for gathering information, soliciting help, and keeping the world at large updated when your baby sneezes.
Smile Family provides a dedicated outlet for this to happen. If it means fewer baby photos on my Facebook feed, I’m all for it.
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In addition to sharing photos, moms (and presumably any parent) can buy and sell used baby items, group chat with mom circles, and find moms with matching interests, like those with kids at the same school or that have the same allergy.
Now that everyone and their grandma is on Facebook, we’re seeing a flood of smaller, more narrow social networks emerging to focus on one area.
Path is a private social network for your closest friends, Nextdoor is a social network for your neighborhood, Doximity is a social network for doctors, Couple is a “relationship app for two,” and so on.
Smile Family is by no means the first to realize that parents want and need their own social network. Being a parent is tough, and a supportive community helps. Competitors include Cafe Mom, BabyCenter, MomsLikeMe, Parents Connect, and JustMommies.
The reality of our society is that women play a bigger role in child care. Yes, there are plenty of active dads and admirable co-parenting situations, but in general, moms are the one taking to the Internet to post photos, express their needs, and communicate with other moms going through the same stuff.
As a result, childcare-centric technology is known as “MommyTech.” It tends to assume that the mother is the only parent actually engaged in parenting and exclude the dad.
Maybe someday in the not-so-distant future, more dads will have stepped up to play a larger role in raising the children and the target audience will be parents of both genders. In the meantime, those dads who do take on an equal share of childcare responsibilities probably won’t want to use tech designed for moms and slathered in pastel pink.
Smile Family is based on Korea, and Kim said it is growing an average of 14% week-over-week, with more than half of the users coming from the U.S. He expects these numbers to go up with the upcoming release of an iOS app.
Before starting Smile Family, Kim founded social gaming startup Paprika Lab, which sold to GREE in 2012. Albatross Investment, Capstone Partners, and Fast Track Asia participated in this round.
Related: The problem with CES and ‘MommyTech’
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