Tips on pregnancy abound online, from the food you should eat to what that weird pain in your foot means for the baby. But diving into the abyss of endless information can be overwhelming for new parents (or those soon-to-be parents). But a new social app connects those parents to talk about experiences with others who are going through the same thing.
Bloom just launched on Android, and is already available as a free app on iOS and Windows devices. It lets users ask for advice, post tips, and share stories about the beauties and frustrations of pregnancy with a community of people in similar situations. Users can also post items they are looking to buy or sell, and the app even facilitates trading.
Manuj Bahl, a former Microsoft and RealNetworks engineer, developed the app in response to his wife’s frustrations with current apps on the market and the lack of personality they often show.
“We compete and at the same time supplement the big-name apps like What To Expect [and] BabyCenter,” Bahl said. “I say supplement because while those apps are mostly focused on providing textbook content written by professionals, we are focused on providing our users a peer network for real world advice, which is something they can relate to on a personal level.”
The app currently has around 14,000 users, a number that includes both moms and dads. Bahl said it can make men feel more helpful, using the app to dig up information for the pregnant women in their lives.
The marketplace aspect has also helped the app grow, according to Bahl. While other parenting apps may discourage trading or selling baby items, Bahl sees it as an obvious progression from the chatting that he wants to foster with the app.
“At Bloom, we believe a conversation with your neighbors and friends is a natural way to progress into a transaction,” he said. “It saves time and you trust their advice more than a search engine giving you feedback from someone far away and years ago.”
Since its August 2015 launch, Bahl has bootstrapped the app’s creation by himself, but he will be looking for angel funding as the mobile apps start to mature. Bahl has been advised by Seattle startup vet Paul Ingalls, who most recently co-founded Ripl to help social networkers build their brand.