Last spring, Helen Wang and Adam Costello — like most parents — began to search for summer activities for their kids. They found the process unnecessarily tedious, but — unlike most parents — they had the resources to address the problem first-hand.
“With our background of Ph.Ds in computer science from UC Berkeley and a combined 23 years of experience in the high-tech industry, we decided to tackle this problem and solve it for ourselves and for all parents,” said Wang.
The couple launched 6crickets, a Seattle-based online marketplace where parents can find, schedule, and book summer camps and activities for their children. The platform allows users to search by location, age, and the level of care needed.
We caught up with Wang for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We are a marketplace website to help parents discover, schedule, pay, and share summer camps and other kids’ activities.”
Inspiration hit us when: “We had such a hard time scheduling our own children’s summer camp in spring 2014.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “For the first one to two years, we want to focus on developing and proving our product. My husband and I are the first angel investors for 6crickets. ”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Building the website to make it super easy to use ourselves, addressing all the pains that we experienced ourselves.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Narrow the problem scope and solve it well. We are standing on giants’ shoulders. Learning the lessons from the previous startups and learning from our customers (both providers and parents), we have focused on automation and streamlining the process for parents and providers alike.
We provide parents a complete solution: Discovering, filtering, paying for classes and sharing their schedules with other families. For providers, we enable them to have their classes instantly searchable and payable by parents as soon as they list their classes and we enable them to receive parents’ payment immediately and automatically when parents register their classes. Also, we have focused our product on summer camps first, then add after-school programs and so on in sequence (following the school calendar). Narrowing the problem scope helps us solve the problem more thoroughly and completely for parents.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “While we’ve maintained very healthy exponential growth of our user base on a weekly basis, I feel we would have done better if we were more experienced with marketing. Ask me again in a year — I may have a more crisp answer on this one.”
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Mark Zuckerberg. I share Mark’s passion of making the world a better place. Mark has great, long-term visions in social, mobile, cloud, augmented reality computing, which will lead to long-term success of Facebook. Mark takes great care of his employees, encourages his employees to take risks and has fostered great culture at Facebook. His passion, vision, and good treatment of his employees make him a great leader.”
Our favorite team-building activity is: “Party with other parents and their kids.”
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “Passion, work ethic, integrity, flexibility, quick to learn.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Just do it!”