Last year, Karla Lemmon had a problem. Lists had overtaken her once simple life. As a new mom, she found herself scribbling one down each time she packed to take her son traveling or even just for a quick overnight. But, Karla had an idea. What if there was an app that coordinated it all?
Replace the spreadsheets and sticky notes with a virtual way to organize information and streamline parents’ ability to pack and plan for outings with their little ones. Give them a convenient way to communicate that information to caregivers and connect remotely anytime they wanted. Provide a tool to create care schedules with reminders on a platform caregivers already used and relied on — their smartphones.
That’s Little Peanut on the Go. It’s now a fully-functional app available for download in the Apple and Google Play stores.
The difference between Karla and other mobile entrepreneurs? She presented her idea at MobDemo 2014 — and won. The competition gives selected entrants the stage at MobCon U.S. to pitch their ideas before an audience of strategists and mobile innovators. The winner receives a $5,000 prize and an additional $20,000 in development credits from MentorMate, the MobCon founding sponsor.
We caught up with the MobDemo winner to find out more about her development process and what’s next for the mobile entrepreneur.
When you look back on your pitch at MobCon what do you think made it so successful?
Going into MobCon I didn’t think the audience would relate to my app at all since it was an app focused on parents and children. Luckily, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The audience was full of parents who immediately understood the problem I was trying to solve, and I presented the concept in a way they could easily relate to. Little Peanut on the Go was an app they could see themselves using in their own everyday lives.
What do you think is the key to conceiving a useful app?
If you find a task that you think could be made easier with an app, but you can’t find an app to meet your needs, that’s the first step. Equally important though, test your idea with others to make sure it’s a common need. Then keep testing your concept and design with others throughout the development process.
What was it like working with the MentorMate development team?
I’ve worked with several development teams in the past, both on-shore and off-shore. As with any development project, we encountered challenges along the way. What I appreciated about the MentorMate team was they not only presented the challenge to me, but also gave options and solutions we could then review and discuss. We would look at the positives and negatives of each option and decide collectively on the best route to take. I also appreciated their constant attention to the user experience so it wasn’t negatively affected by the decisions we were making.
What was your reaction when you first saw your app in the Google Play and Apple stores?
My main reaction was, “I did it!” It was a sense of pride and achievement…along with a little giddiness, excitement, and a huge smile on my face!
Any advice for other would-be entrepreneurs?
If you have what you think is a good idea, invest some time investigating and testing it. You don’t want to have regrets later in life thinking you should’ve tried something when you didn’t. Also, try to find a support system of other entrepreneurs. You’d be surprised how many are out there. It’s so important to have someone else to talk to who’s gone through the same process, just to know you’re not alone. When you run into a roadblock, chances are someone else has been there too and can help you through it.
What’s next on the horizon for you? Any new variations on Little Peanut on the Go?
Right now I’m focusing on my crowdfunding campaign on Plum Alley, a crowdfunding platform for female entrepreneurs. My goal is to raise extra funding for marketing efforts, and if the campaign is very successful, additional development for Little Peanut on the Go. I also have plans to alter the app for different market segments, including pets and older children. A future goal I have is to help my cousin, who has an adult son with a disability. He lives on his own but has several caregivers assist with aspects of his life, such as transportation to work and grocery shopping. My cousin spends much of her time arranging all of this care and communicating with the caregivers.
If I can make a variation of Little Peanut on the Go that allows my cousin to involve several caregivers in a care plan in the app, plus allow her son access to his schedule as well, it would solve many issues for her and so many others in her position.