1MC+Roch

Know What Your Customers Are Thinking

By Jeff Kiger
Post-Bulletin, Rochester, Minn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr)> As part of the national 1 Million Cups initiative, this week, a crowd of local business enthusiasts listened to two local companies present their entrepreneurial stories of success.

Post-Bulletin, Rochester, Minn.

Baby sitters, party DJs and phone apps recently came together as the founders of two tech startups presented their plans to Rochester entrepreneurs.

One Million Cups is a program where people working on new businesses present their plans and field questions and suggestions from their caffeine-fueled peers. Spearheaded by The Collider Coworking Space, it started locally on a monthly basis in February.

On Wednesday, the audience heard from the founders of How To Babysit and Spark.DJ.

How to Babysit
Erin Wagner, of Waseca, told the crowd how she and her partner started out with an idea to create an application to help parents find good baby sitters when they needed them.

After a first attempt “crashed and burned,” they started doing interviews with potential customers and launched a small Alpha test group of 25 users in three neighborhoods with an updated application. The idea was that baby sitters would post times they were available on a calendar so parents could schedule them easily.

“We were shocked with what we saw,” she said. “We had an idea to cater to parents and found baby sitters were actually the power users.”

Wagner said they quickly identified all of the power users were 14-year-old girls who get straight A’s, like to organize their rooms, play volleyball and dream of going to Paris.

“They are really motivated. … They saw all of the good jobs go to 15- to 17-year-olds. They want to break into the market,” said Wagner. “We thought the problem would be getting sitters, but the exact opposite was true.”

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