Kids don’t need the latest and great new iPhone. But a mobile device that lets parents call their children and keep track of their whereabouts can serve a number of purposes for families.
At least that’s what Tinitell is betting. The Stockholm-based startup makes simple wearable devices for kids that allow them to make and receive phone calls with up to 12 contacts and send GPS information that can be tracked with a mobile app. Kids wear the devices around their wrists so parents don’t have to worry about them getting lost.
“I came up with the idea for Tinitell when I was hanging out with a friend who is also a father,” says co-founder Mats Horn. “His son wanted to go outside and play, but he didn’t have a cell phone. He had lost a cell phone once before, and we didn’t feel like lending out our smartphones. Worst of all, we couldn’t join him outside because we were busy cooking dinner. His son ended up playing in his room with his iPad, and I thought that was sad.”
Tinitell is currently in Seattle to work through the inaugural Alexa Accelerator, a new program that Amazon is running in partnership with Techstars. The accelerator supports early-stage companies developing technologies related to Amazon’s popular artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered voice platform.
We caught up with Horn for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: Tinitell creates simple, durable, wearable phones that help your family be there for each other, instead of giving kids distracting smartphones.
Inspiration hit us when: I saw how a kid was forbidden to play outside due to the ease of passive parenting with tablets.
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: Angel and bootstrap both at the same time!
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: Hardware and software design control, appealing Scandinavian design, fully-controlled supply chain, top of the line customer support.
The smartest move we’ve made so far: Doing everything more simply than other players on the market.
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: Over-promising on deliveries before production was up and running.
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: Definitely “Zezos.” A little of Zuckerberg’s talent for user acquisition and a lot of Bezos’s skills for building strong teams.
Our favorite team-building activity is: Two-day off-sites where we make food, hang out, and do company-wide mid-day retrospectives.
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: Is this person humble, organized, and able to drive change?
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: Say goodbye to yourself, your family, and your friends for at least five years.
Editor’s note: GeekWire is featuring each of the nine companies in the Alexa Accelerator leading up to their Demo Day Oct. 17.