Tech Comes Home: How Startups Are Serving Families

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So many startups are focused on business needs or adult technology that the marketplace can become saturated quickly, but it seems as if there will always be room for more innovation in family and children-centered niches.

Opportunities for Kid-Centered Startups

There will always be space for more innovation in family-friendly niches. People never stop having children and parents are less hesitant to spend money on kids than just about anything else. Having said that, here are some trends, startups, and product categories that are currently experiencing wild success in this niche.

1. Organization and Convenience

If life seems busier to you now than when you were a kid, it’s not just a change in your perspective. Whereas you might have been involved in one or two social activates a year when you were growing up, it seems as if today’s children participate in multiple teams, groups, and clubs at a time. Even when kids are home, there’s a lot going on and it’s tough to keep everything organized.

In response to chaotic family scheduling, a number of startups are focusing their time and innovative energies on developing products that help parents gain a little control. Dinkleboo – with their personalized name labels – is a great example of a company that helps parents simplify their lives by keeping track of their kids’ stuff.

2. Special Needs and Development Problems

While children have always been born with special needs and developmental problems, there’s finally a focus on solution-based products in today’s marketplace. One example is ABAL Therapeutics, which has founded a software app that provides autism therapy for parents and their children.

“For a lot of families, amazing therapy is kept out of reach by incredible cost that can sometimes exceed six figures annually,” says Shamus Roeder, one of the company’s founders. “This is making it possible for them.”

Then there’s Mighteor, a mobile video game platform that’s designed to help children who have serious behavioral problems. It works by tracking a child’s breathing and heart rate and showing participants how changes can affect their mood. The games then work with children to help them focus on constructive tasks and calm themselves down.

3. Youth Sports

Twenty-five or thirty years ago, youth sports were popular, but most people wouldn’t have called it an industry. Today, it’s a 15.3 billion market – a number that has ballooned by 55 percent over the last seven-plus years. One company that’s taking advantage of this growing industry is Blue Star Sports, which has raised more than $200 million and purchased 18 different companies all over the world.

“Blue Star Sports was born out of [Rob] Wechsler’s own frustrations with the slow, disorganized annual process of signing up his three kids for sports,” Melissa Repko writes for Dallas News. “Wechsler previously built and sold payments companies. He started exploring ways to improve the youth sports experience and he discovered it had the makings of a great business opportunity: It was a fragmented market, had plenty of room for improvement and was recession-proof.”

Today, Wechsler’s companies are doing everything from developing software that tracks youth sports statistics to publishing content about training and nutrition specifically aimed at young athletes.

Children Serve as Inspiration and Market

The unique thing about child-centered niches is that children are both the inspiration and the marketplace. Most entrepreneurs launch child-friendly products out of a very personal situation. They either have a child who needs a solution that doesn’t currently exist in the marketplace, or they’ve identified a gap in the market.

While there’s no guarantee that a child-centered startup will be successful, the fact that the founders are often so vested in their products typically leads to better results. Keep an eye on the products featured in this article and don’t be surprised if they continue to scale in a positive direction.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.