Tweekaboo is a private social network that allows parents to keep a record of their children’s early years, founded by Eugene Murphy based out of Cork, Ireland. Tweekaboo captures those critical family moments and allows users to share these moments digitally. The company closed a seed round in late 2013 that was led by Irish America Business 100 Honoree Liam Casey of PCH International and Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government support agency for startup companies.
The company has nine employees and has registered users in 120 countries with the same user interaction with the platform no matter where the user is located in the world which makes the opportunity very exciting for the Tweekaboo team, particularly with the continued growth in the smartphone market and development of cloud based product solutions for consumers.
Eugene and his team are currently fundraising and securing partnerships that will help grow the brand and customer base. Their vision is to become the default service for new families who are looking for an easy way to capture, share and remember their life stories.
Here are a few things to take away from their journey so far:
Inspiration can come from anywhere:
Eugene’s kids were the inspiration for Tweekaboo. As a dad of 4, he and his wife Caroline founded Tweekaboo in 2011 because there was no easy way to hold onto the everyday moments that they shared about their kids through their phones.
“In an era where we are overloaded with content, the messages that we share with families are the highlights of our children's lives. Our mission with Tweekaboo is to preserve these memories for our kids.”
Identifying a pain point is key:
Eugene realized the highlights of kids lives flow through smartphones daily as messages or posts but there was no easy way to aggregate and preserve those shared moments.
Tweekaboo helps busy parents to keep a journal of their kids lives using their smart phones and 2 share their kids moments privately with family.
“By combining mobile journaling and private sharing, Tweekaboo is essentially the social biography of your child's life composed of the emotional conversations families share on their mobile phones.”
Figure out how to make money:
Tweekaboo has a paid feature that enables users to turn their Tweekaboo timeline into a printed hardcover book. Plans are in place to offer a freemium upgrade option later this year to reward the most engaged users by granting access to additional features and services.
Start with a vision but iterate your product constantly based on user behavior and feedback:
According to Eugene, his startup are in a constant process of refining the feature set but the initial vision of making it easy for busy parents to capture, share and remember their children's life stories using their smart phones is still at the core of what they do every day.
Parents are the same everywhere:
They all want to hold onto their children's memories and they all want a simple private sharing solution. Tweekaboo gives them convenience and peace of mind and we are amazed at how the service has grown globally.
Outsourcing can be painful, bring your product development in house:
There’s no substitute for building a great team and building your own product according to founder Eugene Murphy. In the early stages they outsourced the building the prototype of their platform and had mixed results.
“As soon as we raised our first angel round we invested in building out the team and it's amazing the momentum you achieve once you can bring all of your product development in house.”
When you are innovating every problem you face is a new problem:
Founder Eugene Murphy believes all founders you have to become a pragmatic problem solver and find simple solutions that you can quickly build, ship, measure and iterate. The second reason: you are trying to move fast on limited resources. Funding is always a challenge and balancing speed and company preservation is hard. For me, it's definitely more about the tortoise than the hare.
Be patient and persistent:
“You have to believe in what you are doing - otherwise you're going to pack it in. You'll hit plenty brick walls and find yourself in situations where you have no clue how to move forward. Having the grit and the belief to persist and keep grinding it out is key to breaking through and turning your idea into a business.”
Advice for other founders:
“Aim at a massive market, move fast and focus on the users that love your product. Paul Graham is famous for saying that you are better off having 100 users that love your product than 1 million who sort of like it. If your users tell you they love what you do, you are onto something. The challenge is persisting long enough turn that love into a repeatable sales model!”