This article has been syndicated from TechCrunch. By Christine Tsai (Partner, 500 Startups)
Are you an entrepreneur looking to build something truly awesome that will positively impact millions of people’s lives? (And by the way, make a LOT of money?)
If so, then I have a suggestion…
Stop building yet another daily deal site or mindless social game or yellow filter so-lo-mo photo-sharing service. Instead, build something awesome for moms, dads, families, or kids. Believe it or not, there are a lot of them so make their lives easier and happier. Because, the best part is that they’ll probably pay you for it.
Need some numbers to prove that this space is worth going after? A few nuggets of data*:
- In the U.S. alone, there are 69M moms total w/ children under the age of 18.
- Total spending by U.S. moms topped $2.1 trillion. Yes, TRILLIONS.
- In the last 4 years, social media use among moms has increased a whopping 591%.
- An estimated 63.6M tablet devices are expected to be sold this year. Parents download on average 27.2 apps for their kids, spending about $100 in total.
- Children and infant clothing spend in the U.S. is at $10B. It’s even higher for baby foods – that market is expected to grow to $35.2B by 2016.
It’s clear that families are where the kwan is.
As a parent, I’m not surprised by these numbers. I’ve certainly spent a considerable amount of money since I became a mom over 9 months ago – diapers, clothes, parent club membership, child care, diapers, baby wipes, baby food, strollers, car seats, toys, diapers, doctor visits, and more. My partner-in-crime, Dave, has 2 kids (ages 5 and 7) and has spent thousands of dollars on children’s story books, language tutors, mini vans, kids clothing, soccer classes, ballet classes, basketball classes, gymnastics classes, private school tuition, and more.
What many single male 23 year-old entrepreneurs don’t realize is that family tech is a BIG FREAKING BUSINESS. As in, TRILLIONS of dollars. People will never stop having kids, and people will never stop spending money on them to make sure they’re safe, healthy, and educated. If anything, these numbers are growing year after year. But there’s more to it than the total addressable market.
There are huge pain points experienced by parents. It’s hard to find good child care options in one place. It’s hard figure out things to do with your kids on the weekends or after school. It’s hard to find iPad apps for your kids that you are confident are helping them learn, vs just being entertained. It’s hard to figure out whether to do cord blood banking. The list goes on and on.
500 Startups has invested in over 25 family tech startups to date and expect that we’ll invest in another 20+ every year (and in multiple countries). We are so passionate about family tech as a key investment theme that we’re holding an entire conference about it today (MamaBear).
Many of the problems that families face can be solved with great technology, design, and distribution. Going after families is (or should be) the new ‘sexy’. Whether you’re building learning apps for everyone in the family (like MindSnacks), a mom-targeted commerce site (like ecomom), subscription services for kids (like Kiwi Crate), or mobile apps to monitor infants (like Evoz), you’re making a huge difference in the lives of families.
* Numbers cited from BabyCenter, BCC Research, IBISWorld, The Globe And Mail. To check out more resources on family tech, visit http://mamabeartech.co/resources/
* Don’t have a ticket to the MamaBear conference? We’re also live streaming at http://livestream.com/500startups starting at 9:00AM Pacific on Friday April 20.
About the guest blogger: Christine Tsai is a Partner at 500 Startups where she works closely with early-stage startups and directs the 500 Mentor Network, platform partnerships with companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more. Prior to 500 Startups, Christine worked at places including Google, YouTube, OSIsoft and ChevronTexaco. Christine holds a B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of California at Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @christine_tsai.