What happens when moms can't find activities to put their children in? For Lisa Friedlander and Illene Miller the answer was to start their own business called Activity Rocket, a website that “was created for moms by moms” as a way to easily find activities for children. Between the two founders, they have five children and they found it difficult to find one place that had everything they were looking for. Having children that were very involved in activities such as lacrosse, soccer, Tae Kwon Do, band and even art they asked other parents and searched the internet to find one place where they could find activities and sort them according to time, location and cost. Miller explained they used “cumbersome spreadsheets” to keep track of all the research they did on the activities for their children but there wasn't a simple solution.
One Tuesday when Friedlander was looking for an activity for her daughter to do, she looked online for 3 hours until she was able to finally find something. At the same time Miller was booking a family vacation in about 10 minutes. The light bulb went off. It was out of that frustration that Activity Rocket was born. The duo wondered why people could go to Open Table to find a restaurant or Expedia to book a trip in a few minutes but there wasn't anything as simple for parents. The co-founders new they had a good idea.
Launching the Rocket
The process for bringing their idea to fruition was “long and thoughtful” as the two co-owners used their background as attorneys to vet their idea with businesses and parents. They even spoke with developers to see that their idea could be created and any potential “holes” they had in their plan. While their Beta site was being developed, the two mompreneurs found themselves “pounding the pavement” with screenshots of their future site to show potential subscribers.With about 80 advertisers signed up prior to launch, Activity Rocket was born in 2011.
Recently relaunching their site this past year with additional features like a secure shopping cart and analytics for paid subscribers, the site has moved the business closer to its goal of eventually scaling nationally and is now branching out to Baltimore, Maryland. With a strong presence on social media, blogs and participating in events, they are on their way towards reaching that goal.
How Activity Rocket Works
“If you have kids, your kids are going to sign up for something at some point and it's one of those tasks that hasn't been touched or improved in years and we have brought that process into this century,” explained Miller. More than just a website, Miller explained that Activity Rocket is a “marketplace business” that brings together parents and businesses.
For parents, they can go to the site and enter their child's age, activity, gender and zip code. Parents can view all the activities on the site and make their decision and book the activity on the spot. For businesses, Activity Rocket currently has over 500 businesses and organizations and over 200 types of activities. It is an opportunity for businesses to be found online when parents are looking for something to do. Businesses can list their events on the site for free or sign up for a paid subscription.
Based out of Bethesda, Maryland, Miller believes they are lucky to be in the area because in the past few years there are so many incubators and communities emerging including like Meetups, Lean Startup, DC Tech, Fortify, 1776 and the startup community has grown.
Activity Rocket is for parents of children of Metro DC from ages 0-18. The site gets about 7,000 monthly users and 3,000 registered users. The site features classes from including yoga for moms with new borns to money management for teenagers. Those interested in subscribing can visit the site to sign up and the team can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They are always looking for talent (sales, marketing, developers and business professionals) to join their team.