Featured Startup Pitch: Constant Contact InnoLoft participant Itsgr82bme is on a mission to help parents navigate kid-friendly businesses and destinations
Did you ever get somewhere only to find out its not kid friendly? With Itsgr82bme.com, you never have to think about bringing the kids. We eliminate this question and put confidence in your hands.
The idea is simple. A national, self-serve, real-time calendar of events and activities offering one central location to find things to do, places to go, products and services that are centered on family. Going to the movies? Find family-friendly theaters, restaurants and discounts all in one quick search. Want to stay within a budget? Search, sort and select something that is just right for you. From camps to classes, train rides and waterslides, we can even tell you which salon and dentists are going to welcome your family and children. Eliminate the mile long browser bookmarks and jumping from page-to-page. One place to find all things family! On your desktop, in the palm of your hand, or on your wrist—leaving your hands free for the kids.
A blended family, we address the difficulties of work-life balance and finding time to spend quality family time with our kids. Just getting through the day balancing schedules and coordinating between families is a skill set fine-tuned with time. One child now in college out of state and one in second grade in another state, we do trains, planes, and automobiles monthly. Getting from one state to another, celebrating holidays, planning weekend visits, making school plays and daddy-daughter dances is all part of being parents.
On any given day plans change. Finding things to do on the go was difficult; using search engines that tell you what they think you want to see became a true struggle. We had to search in-and-out of numerous different websites, digging to find a little bit of familiar in an unfamiliar place.
This idea began 12 years ago, when I was away with my daughter. She woke up sick and I tried to find a pediatrician, on a Sunday in an unfamiliar area. That’s when the vision started. Fast forward years later, to a conversation with my now husband, who was planning his summer visit with his little girl. A newly-relocated executive, newly divorced, with a demanding job. He was getting his daughter for the summer—imagine the uncertainty! With this conversation, the wheels were set in motion. Suddenly, it all became clear—already established in the gaming, casino, and graphics industry, BrightLogic, a creative software engineering powerhouse, joined our team and began to help create this vision.
Once the team had a chance to identify the goal of creating one fluid experience, we began to meet regularly. Events and activities would be the reason for traffic to come to the site. With an already open mind to find something new and fun to do, we deliver local products, services, discounts, and information that is useful to a family.
The site was developed and launched and we have been beta testing and fine-tuning over the last year-and-a-half with input from parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers, non-profits and small businesses. They have helped us to hone in and give us feedback to tweak it even more. I left my career in finance for 20-plus years to pursue this full-time and immersed myself in local small business behavior and activities.
Being so new, we haven’t engaged in any advertising other than grassroots in our hometown. As a chamber of commerce member and sitting on the board of directors for the chamber of commerce in Ridgewood, we have great insight into small brick-and-mortar businesses struggling to connect with the new generation of advertising. Through events we have built our brand and raised awareness in a localized area to ensure and master our strategy. One thing was ever so clear—having a strong presence with the families in the community they serve makes a huge difference.
The vast majority of our target market is parents 25-to-50 years old, however we offer an even larger market to include caretakers, grandparents, newcomers, and mom/dad play groups, just to name a few. The fact is that anyone that is involved in the life of a child can benefit from using our site. There isn’t much to compare it to as this industry is evolving. The one thing we know is that people are always seeking things to do. With no advertising, we get roughly 2,000 visitors to the site per month. Depending on the season, holidays and great events on the site drive traffic.
We are a self-serve platform giving small business the ability to take advantage of the bigger picture. Showcase a business with a gallery, links, contact information—no minimums, no deadlines. A business owner already wearing several hats might sit down on a Sunday, gather all their images, logos, and calendar, and plan the entire year of events and never look back. Our dashboard is user-friendly with the ability to manage their entire account. The site stores all previous information, making recalling a past event easy, and with a couple of quick changes we also provide the ability to repost it again. All entries offer a URL directly to their site and customization they control. Businesses can create photo galleries, insert additional links, create entries for seasons, holidays, and much more. In addition to the event calendar, there is ad space, a giveaway feature, discount area, directory, blog, and many other areas. There is no pay-per-click and no hidden tricks.
We offer a subscription-based model around $30.00 per month that any small business can afford. There is also an a-la-carte option, for say a pediatrician who wouldn’t host events or offer a coupon or discount but is family-centered and wants to have a presence. That price varies from $25.00 to $250.00.
All users use the site for free. They can create an account, save to ‘favorites,’ add to their calendar and share through social media. Our iPhone app is a free download.
We became fully operational in April, 2013, and launched our iPhone app in August, 2014. Development is ongoing, with our mobile site and Apple Watch app targeted for this month. We are ready to scale and advertise.
Small businesses wanting to join as a business: itsgr82bme.com/register.
# # #
HEADQUARTERS: Wyckoff, New Jersey
INCUBATOR/ACCELERATOR: Constant Contact Small Business InnoLoft