Meet the co-founders of Mush
Hi Katie and Sarah, what lead to the launch of Mush.
We first met on a cold wet morning in a playground. After exchanging numbers, we soon realised how many other new mums struggled with feelings of isolation and loneliness like we did.
Taking inspiration from dating apps such as Tinder, we spent a year creating an app that would help mums to chat and meet up with other like-minded mums who have kids of the same age. And ta-da, Mush was born. On the app, mums can see each other’s photos and interests, group chat and now have conversations around everything mum-related in their neighbourhood.
Inspiration is always a great indication of why people launch businesses. Who or what inspired you to get started?
We inspire each other, if that’s not too cheesy. I have a huge amount of respect for people who set up businesses by themselves, because we couldn’t have done it alone. We egged each other on to get stuff done and had fun doing it. It wasn’t daunting when there were two of us learning stuff together. And we don’t want to let each other down now!
Getting inspiration from other businesses was key to us starting Mush, so we’ve teamed up with Plusnet for this year’s Plusnet Pioneers campaign which aims to help and inspire others looking to set up a new business.
How do you set yourself apart from other businesses in your industry?
There has been a lot of mum support services over the years. NCT is an awesome service to find a local group of women going through motherhood at the same time, but it comes at a price.
Mumsnet is an amazing resource for mums looking for advice and support, but it is anonymous and geographically disparate, with communication online.
Mush brings together the two services so you can make real offline friends to discuss all of the most pressing issues of motherhood, and have a laugh.
How did you fund the launch of your business and what creative strategies did you use to execute a minimal cash flow?
We were too advanced for the earliest stage of funding (seed-stage), but we weren’t quite advanced enough for venture capital money. Having already built a large following of mums through their marketing efforts, we thought that crowdfunding would work really well for Mush.
We knew we had a product that was very understandable, and we found that raising money through your followers (crowdfunding) is a wonderfully tactful approach if you’re trying to build up a rapport with your audience. Plus, it offers a great marketing campaign!
How did you conquer those moments of doubt that so often affect entrepreneurs or stop many with great ideas – what pushes you through?
The importance of a co-founder here was critical. We have been there to support each other whenever any doubt kicked in. We give each other an enormous amount of energy and perspective too. I can’t imagine doing it without one another. Plus, we are so adamant that Mush is going to be a huge success in terms of mums never feeling unsupported again. Don’t doubt how far blind enthusiasm can take you.
Who is your target audience?
Our target audience is mums with children of all ages as 80% of mums experience feelings of isolation and 50% say they find it hard to meet mum friends nearby. Our app is also designed for dads as they are in real need of a support platform too, given there are so few of them taking up the offer of paternity leave.
What would be your number one tip for young entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their own business?
Securing your first round of funding can be hard, so you need to realise that selling your story is just as important as selling the idea itself. Your pitch deck needs to be compelling, with a top notch narrative that explains the market, the problem in the market, and importantly your solution to that problem.
And even if your pitch doesn’t go to plan, always ask for a referral. You’d be amazed at how many people will help you to meet the correct backer down the line!
If you could have one person record your voicemail, who would it be and why?
I am a huge fan of Michael Parkinson. He brings out the truth in people. His calming voice would cut through to the intended message in no time.
What first in the mornings, phone, book, laptop or me time?
Wow, me-time is something of the past. Cuddle time (two girls wake me up, one on each side) is the first thing in the morning. I wait approximately twenty minutes before the itch to pick up my phone overwhelms me. No phonecalls before a coffee, please.
What plans do you have for Mush over the coming 12 months?
Mush has recently received its third round of investment and is now on a mission to continue improving our product to truly help mums. We have three features in the pipeline, and so many improvements on the way. We also have a Mush book coming out in the summer - your friendly companion to the first year of motherhood.
For more information on Plusnet Pioneers, please visit www.plus.net/plusnet-pioneers