Sara Mauskopf is the co-founder of Winnie.com, a website and app for moms and dads to connect, get new ideas, share their stories, and discover great things to do with their children.
What first inspired you to learn how to code?
I learned to code in college. I went to school at MIT and started out as a math major, but all my friends were studying computer science. I had never really been interested in computer science until I saw that all the cool kids were doing so I gave it a try too, and loved it. I guess you could say I was peer pressured into it! I quickly switched my major to Computer Science and never looked back.
How has coding helped you in your personal life?
Even though I've been a Product Manager for most of my career, I've always made sure I stayed technical and kept up with coding on the side. My technical skills are what gave me the confidence to start Winnie. It's one thing to have an idea, but another to be able to actually execute on that idea and build it. I teamed up with my co-founder Anne Halsall, who also codes, and we were able to build the first version of Winnie and get the company off the ground until we were at the point where we could afford to hire a team.
When did you come up with the idea for Winne.com?
After I became a mom I realized there was so much information I needed, especially local information, and not a good place to get it. Everything from finding activities to do with my daughter on the weekend to finding childcare so I could go back to work was accomplished by talking to other parents, scouring the internet, and mostly trial and error. All this data was all over the place and I wanted to make it searchable and accessible so parents could get all the local information they needed. That's why we built Winnie. Winnie.com is sort of like "Google Maps for Parents". It brings local info to parents' fingertips, whether it's finding the best places to go with your kids or just connecting with other local parents.
What do you struggle with the most as a mom and a founder of a tech company?
My biggest struggle is really just being kind to myself. I think like most working parents, it's tough to find the right balance between work and family and all the other stuff in life. Some weeks I miss a family dinner because of a work event and other weeks I need to come into work late because my daughter has an appointment or my nanny is sick. I try to remember that I'm doing the best I can and things won't always be in perfect balance 100% of the time.
What fellow mom in tech inspired you the most?
This is an easy one! My co-founder Anne Halsall has been a huge inspiration to me. She's a mom of two which is inspiring on its own, but on top of that she's an unstoppable force and someone who always makes me think bigger. For example, we recently launched https://winnie.com/childcare, a comprehensive directory of every preschool and daycare in San Francisco and surrounding areas. Initially I was really intimidated by this project (there were thousands of child care providers to collect detailed data about) but Anne just got to work building technology to ingest large amounts of data and put together a process by which we could bring on a bunch of contractors to help with the data collection. The way she dives right into a hard problem is something I love and am constantly learning from.