Priya Amin and Jessica Strong are the co-dounders of flexablecare.com, a website that provides onsite childcare for professional or personal events.
How many children do you have?
Priya: I have two- Ronin (7) and Kirin (3). Jess has three- Margo (10), Abel (7) and Althea (2).
What inspired you to start Flexable together?
Priya: Both of us had worked in various environments, like corporate offices, freelanced from home and in co-working spaces, and the common thread we both shared was our inability to find reliable childcare exactly when we needed it. Jess had started Whetstone Workgroup, a co-working space with drop in childcare, and I had attempted to start a similar concept in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, PA. We both shared a passion for helping empower the modern working parent - that plus a mutual love of Hamilton!
What kind of moms use Flexable?
Priya: So far, we've seen lots of freelancing and consulting parents use Flexable but have also seen moms looking to transition back into work after being home for a period of time. We have mostly served professional parents who have needed care either during unusual schedules or at a moment's notice. Most recently, we have been serving parents attending professional and personal events, who want/need to attend events but are unable to secure childcare. By offering childcare at events, parents win by finding childcare where they need it, and organizers/companies win by increasing attendance and diversity.
Who are your support systems?
Priya: Both Jess and I rely heavily on our spouses, Shan Amin and Robert Sayre, to help with kid and home duty. Robert is the chef/owner of Mesa, a new restaurant in Oakland (formerly Conflict Kitchen). Shan is the CTO of DV Sport, a tech company in Robinson.
Jessica: We've also built a great support systems of fellow moms and entrepreneurs, many of whom work from Whetstone. This stuff is hard. Juggling a job and childcare and the emotional labor of running a household is *HARD.* We created our own company because we had this great idea that no one else was doing yet, but also because instead of fighting to get more paid time off / better maternity leave / better life-work fit - we just decided to do it ourselves. So we've needed to develop our own support system too. Other moms that are working for themselves, that understand what it's like to be super-efficient several days a week, then take a day off mid-week to take the kids to the zoo, then answer emails from 9-11 pm, and make sure to throw a load of laundry in and order birthday party favors. A group of moms sitting around a conference room table, in one minute discussing whether there are better options to Mailchimp and the next minute discussing sleep regression in toddlers.
What advice do you have for moms who want to start their own tech companies?
Priya: Don't overthink it - just do it! There is never a right time to start a new company, but finding the right partner, and having the support of your spouse/partner is key. At the very beginning of our journey, I was hesitant to start because I thought the timing wasn't "right" but after realizing that the timing would never "perfectly" line up, Jess and I formed Flexable, and were accepted to the 16th cohort of the AlphaLab Accelerator program in Pittsburgh. It's hard to juggle 5 kids between the two of us, but knowing that we are building something that could help millions of families nationwide makes it all worth it.
Jessica: Figure out a way to test your idea quickly and cheaply (ideally for free). You need a good idea and people willing to pay for it, long before you need a fancy name / website / graphic design. Those things are not important at this stage. Take your idea and tell it to everyone, and get their feedback, use their connections, and grow from there.